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Ollie Johnston

Disney Animator



By Ethan Walker

I chose Ollie Johnston because he was one of Disney's original animators. He animated many recognizable charactors from Disney movies such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, One Hundred and One Dalmations, The Jungle Book, Bambi, and Lady and the Tramp


He was such an influencial animator that other animators paid tribute to his career by placing him in their movies as a chameo character. He appeared as an old man in The Incredibles along with fellow animator Frank Thomas and as a train conductor in The Iron Giant. He appeared as Rufus the cat in The Rescuers, his last full movie for Disney.


He also defined the 12 Principles of Animation in a guidebook for the early animators at Disney. These principles gave Disney characters their classic Disney look and believability.


  1. When Ollie Johnston was a young boy, he loved to draw, but he couldn’t draw as well as he should have been able able to, as he had a minor form of Palsy. However, he took lessons, and eventually overcame it. When he began animating, he relied heavily on emotion and feelings in his animation. He developed a deep kinsmanship with fellow Stanford graduate and Disney animator, Frank Thomas, and they enlisted in the second World War together. Unfortunately, because of his palsy, he was denied the opportunity. Johnston went on to direct the animations of many Disney films and short films, such as Bambi, Cinderella, certain parts of Fantasia, Alice in Wonderland, and many, many more.



Ollie johnston had a very subtle and emotional style of animating. Brad Bird, a lead director at Disney, remarked about Ollie's work: "It was difficult to see all that Ollie was doing when you flipped his original drawings, because he didn’t push his key poses as far... but when you saw Ollie’s scenes the way they were intended to be seen– at 24 frames a second– all the beautiful nuances became crystal clear" He was awarded with the National Medal of Arts in 2005.

Ollie Johnston, October 31, 1912 - April 14, 2008

Photo from

Left photo, sample from One Hundred and One Dalmations from


Biography, Continued

Timeline of notable works in Ollie Johnston's career:


1935 Began working at Walt Disney Studios as an animator

1937 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

1940 Directing animator in Pinocchio

1940 Fantasia

1942 Bambi

1955 Lady and the Tramp

1961 One Hundred and One Dalmations

1967 The Jungle Book

1977 The Rescuers

1981 The Fox and the Hound, his last film




Top Left: Bambi and Thumper concept art


Top Right: Dwarf Character sketches


Bottom Left: Pinocchio

By Ethan Walker

"5. Ollie Johnston" 50mostinfluencialdisneyanimators. Wordpress. November 4, 2011. Web. September 21, 2016.

brewmasters. "Brad Bird on Ollie Johnston" Cartoonbrew. N/A. April 15, 2008. Web. September 22, 2016.


Editors of the Encyclopædia Britannica "Ollie Johnston: American Animator" Encyclopædia Britannica. Britannica. n.d. Web. September 22, 2016