As one of Disney’s original animators, Cincinnati, Ohio-born John Lounsbery is no doubt a legend. Lounsbery began his career with Walt Disney Studios in 1935 and worked there until his death in 1976.
Let’s learn more about the impressive life of Disney Legend John Lounsbery.
Lead photo courtesy of D23.
1. 13-Time Animation Director
During his Disney career, Lounsbery was the animation director for a whopping 13 Disney animated classics. The best-known titles he directed include Dumbo, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, Lady and the Tramp, Sleeping Beauty, The Jungle Book, and Robin Hood.
2. Character Development
In addition to being animation director on more than a dozen films, Lounsbery animated some very well-known characters during his tenure at Disney Animation Studios.
In the movie Pinocchio, he animated J. Worthington Foulfellow (aka Honest John the fox). He also animated the titular elephant in Dumbo, the Cheshire Cat and Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland, King Louie and Baloo in The Jungle Book, and Eeyore and Owl in The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.
3. Shy Guy
John Lounsbery was quiet and shy by nature. However, the characters he animated were the complete opposite. Characters like Honest John are lifelike and slightly in-your-face, which was contrary to Lounsbery’s own personality.
4. Ohio Born, Colorado Raised
While John Lounsbery was born in Ohio, he grew up in Colorado, where he discovered a love of winter sports. Lounsbery enrolled in the Art Institute of Denver, where he honed his drawing skills.
Following graduation, he left Colorado and moved to Los Angeles, where he did freelance work while taking courses at the Art Center School of Design. It was here that an instructor encouraged Lounsbery to apply to Walt Disney Studio.
5. Nine Old Men
As one of the original core animators at Walt Disney Studio, John Lounsbery was dubbed one of Disney’s Nine Old Men. The nickname was given to the group by Walt Disney himself as a jab at President Roosevelt’s dismissive comment about the U.S. Supreme Court justices at the time being nine old men.
Despite the nickname, Lounsbery and the other animators were young men in their 30s and 40s at the time.
Remembering Disney Legend John Lounsbery
John Lounsbery was named a Disney Legend in 1989 in honor of his animation legacy at Walt Disney World.
In remembering John and all of Disney’s animators, this month’s issue of WDW Magazine is dedicated to art and animation. Become a digital subscriber today for instant access to this issue and over 100 other special issues full of exclusive subscriber content.