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Legendary Disney animator who created Bambi dies aged 106

Rebecca Lewis

Legendary Disney animator who created Bambi dies aged 106
(Picture: KCET departures/ Disney)
Tyrus Wong, the legendary Disney animator who created Bambi, has passed away at the age of 106.
Writing on Facebook, his family revealed the news in a statement.
‘With heavy hearts, we announce the passing of Tyrus Wong,’ the post read.
‘Tyrus died peacefully at his home surrounded by his loving daughters Kim, Kay and Tai-Ling. He was 106 years old.’
Born in China in 1910. Tyrus moved to America with his father in 1919; he studied at the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles and in 1938 he joined Walt Disney Studios an ‘inbetweener’ where he helped draw sketches of Mickey Mouse.
Then, according to the Walt Disney Family Museum, ‘he heard that the studio was in pre-production on the feature film Bambi [so] he went home and painted several pictures of a deer in a forest’.
‘The small, but evocative sketches captured the attention of Walt Disney and became the basis for the film’s visual style. Walt Disney saw that Tyrus was able to produce exquisite artwork that did not necessarily look like the forest—but rather, felt like the forest,’ said the musuem.
‘Walt’s vision for Bambi and use of Tyrus’ work still influences films today.’
Bambi was released in 1942 (Picture: Disney)
After Disney, Tyrus worked at Warner Brothers studio where he worked on film including The Sands Of Iwo Jima, Rebel Without A Cause and The Wild Bunch.
He retired in 1968 but in 2001 he was named a Disney Legend, and in 2013 the Disney Family Museum mounted an exhibition of his work Water to Paper, Paint to Sky: The Art of Tyrus Wong.

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