John Lounsbery

Disney Legend John Lounsbery is Born

John Lounsbery, who was born on this day in 1911, first joined Walt’s studio in 1935 as a member of the Studio’s first training group and worked as an animator on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. A member of Walt’s Nine Old Men group, Lounsbery worked on most of the classic features as an animator or a directing animator. Disney animator Andreas Deja, the man who drew Roger Rabbit from Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Gaston from Beauty and the Beast, among others, recently said of Lounsbery’s work: “He liked characters he could sink his teeth into,” Andreas muses. “Once he got one of those assignments then he could outshine anyone. Characters and scenes that had comedy in them, physicality and real caricature — characters with a little less realism — he’d just go to town with them. Like Tony and Joe from Lady and the Tramp, the elephants from The Jungle Book and Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh. His animation is very gutsy. He uses a lot of squash and stretch — his characters really squash and really stretch (“squash and stretch” is a technique that gives an animated object dimension and volume and is often used for comedic effect).” Disney animator Dale Baer, who trained with Lounsbery, said he was the only one of the Nine Old Men who drew with a carpenter pencil (a rectangular pencil with a quarter-inch wide piece of lead). “He would roughly block in with the wide flat part of pencil then when he found the line he wanted he would put it in thinner pencil,” he notes. “John wasn’t one of those guys that demanded that this or that happens or acted out all his scenes for the fellows. He showed up at 8, did his thing and left at 5. He did his day’s work, but his family was just as important to him.” He was honored posthumously in 1989 as a Disney Legend.