Eric Larson

Animator and Disney Legend Eric Larson is Born

On this day in 1905, Disney Legend Eric Larson was born in Cleveland, Utah. Although he had originally come to Los Angeles in 1933 to become a writer, at the suggestion of a friend, Eric submitted some of his sketches to Disney and was hired as an assistant animator. He went on to animate on some of Disney’s most beloved feature films, often assigned animals because of his farm boy background, including the chorus girl chickens in Cock O’ The Walk, Thumper in Bambi, the caterpillar in Alice in Wonderland and Mr. Toad in Wind in the Willows. Growing up on the ranch also came in handy when it was time to create the singing farm animals in the “Jolly Holiday” sequence of Mary Poppins. Working on all the animals in Disney’s first animated feature, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, was a particular challenge for Eric, such as in the “Whistle While You Work” sequence, about which Eric once said, “I didn’t realize that when I got on Snow White that I would have maybe 10 or 20 animals on one page. Trying to move them around in a composition—that was interesting.” Eric went on to be the last of Disney’s famed Nine Old Men to continue working at Disney. He felt that his colleagues in the early years were so helpful and so willing to share their knowledge of the craft, that 52 years later, it was his responsibility to pass that knowledge on to the next generation of artists. In fact, he once said, “There’s something about young people that helps to keep me young, even though I don’t look it, but the spirit is there.”