Animator and Disney Legend Ruthie Tompson Dies at the Age of 111

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Ruthie Tompson, an animator and licensed Disney Legend, experienced just one of the longest histories at The Walt Disney Company, even doing work right with Walt and Roy O. Disney in the animation studio’s earliest days. Officially starting her career as a painter in the company’s Ink & Paint Department, she later went on to fulfill other significant roles in scene preparing, closing examine, and the digital camera office. On Sunday, Oct 10, although at her household at the Motion Picture and Tv Fund (MPTF) in Woodland Hills, California, Ruthie Tompson died peacefully in her slumber at the age of 111.

“Mickey Mouse and I grew up with each other,” Tompson would normally notify men and women with fondness. And that wasn’t far too much from atheism real truth. Born in Portland, Maine on July 22, 1910, her 1st encounters with Disney commenced for the duration of her childhood in the 1920s—after her relatives moved to California from Boston, Massachusetts at the conclusion of Entire world War I. Expanding up in Hollywood, she did not live much too considerably from the emergent Disney Bros. Cartoon Studio, then found on Kingswell Avenue. In 2010, she recalled going for walks by the storefront almost daily as a baby and getting fascinated by what she noticed inside of.

“There had been two ladies in the window portray,” she remembered. “I never noticed this prior to, so I stopped to search. And each working day, I had to cease and see what they had been doing. Curiosity just about killed this cat. I did it so typically that someone came out and explained, ‘Why never you go within and view them?’ I imagine it was Walt since he roamed all over quite a bit.”

That invitation was the start off of a prolonged partnership with the Disney Brothers. Right after that, she would pay a visit to the studio pretty normally. “I remember sitting down on the bench and looking at Roy shoot the animated cels on to movie,” Tompson described. The brothers would also take photographs of the community kids jogging and actively playing to use for animation applications, offering each youngster a fifty-cent piece as a reward. She constantly took hers straight to the sweet retail outlet to acquire licorice.

It wasn’t till right after higher school, at the age of 18, that Tompson was truly presented a career at the studio. She was functioning at Dubrock’s Riding Academy, the position exactly where Walt and Roy usually played polo, and the brothers recognized her from “her signature Buster Brown haircut.” They presented her a career on the spot, promising that her deficiency of drawing expertise was unimportant mainly because they would instruct her everything she necessary to know.

From her early days in the Ink & Paint Division, Tompson would go on to work with Disney for approximately 40 years. Her hand was in almost each Disney animated feature made—from its very to start with, Snow White, up by means of The Rescuers—until the time she retired in 1975. She was extremely valued for her mechanical skill in guiding the digital camera actions for the animated films and, as a result, turned a single of the first three girls to be admitted to the Intercontinental Photographers Union (Area 659 of the IATSE). As the employee with the longest heritage with Walt and Roy O. Disney, Tompson was honored for her contributions to The Walt Disney Company and officially named a Disney Legend in the year 2000.

Now, Tompson’s legacy will are living on in memory and in the lots of films she aided to create in the course of her time at Disney. Representative of a true trailblazer in animation, that legacy will not soon be neglected. “Ruthie was a legitimate Disney Legend,” suggests filmmaker Leslie Iwerks. “As a younger woman who commenced as an ‘extra’ in the 1920s Alice Comedies—she was directed by Walt Disney himself and viewed above the shoulders of Roy O. Disney and [Disney Legend] Ub Iwerks, functioning the silent cameras—and residing to 111 years previous, she was the 1 individual still alive who had recognised Walt Disney because his earliest Hollywood many years.”

“Ruthie was a legend amid animators, and her innovative contributions to Disney—from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to The Rescuers—remain beloved classics to this working day,” adds Bob Iger, government chairman and chairman of the board of The Walt Disney Business. “While we will overlook her smile and excellent sense of humor, her excellent get the job done and revolutionary spirit will permanently be an inspiration to us all.”

Trailblazing woman animator and Disney Legend Ruthie Tompson died on Oct 10 at the age of 111.

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Watch this video tribute to her lasting legacy. out?v=7vnT5Sc5Gs4

h/t: [NPR]

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