Disney publicist Howard Green snapped this pic (above) of veteran animator Willis Pyle (Bambi, Mr. Magoo) with Eric Goldberg in 2012. Pyle is turning 100 next month and there will be a private gala celebration for him at the Waldorf Astoria in New York on September 3rd.
Born in 1914, Pyle began his career at the Disney studio in 1937 as a office boy, delivering supplies to the animators. He began drawing for the studio on Pinocchio (1940), as Milt Kahl's assistant. He also worked on Fantasia and Bambi before leaving the studio to work for Walter Lantz, and then with the First Motion Picture Unit during World War II. Pyle joined UPA after the war animating on Mr. Magoo, and on films such as Gerald McBoing Boing. Moving to New York in the 1950s, Pyle became a successful freelance animator and working on dozens of commercials for studios on both coasts. Further credits included Richard Williams feature Raggedy Ann and Andy: A Musical Adventure (1977); DePatie Freleng's TV Special Halloween Is Grinch Night; Murakami-Wolf's The Mouse and His Child (1978); and numerous Charlie Brown specials.
Howard Green is looking to collect a few drawings by current animation artists congratulating him on his milestone event. It won't get you invited to the event, but Mr. Pyle would really appreciate it.
Artists wanting to contribute a drawing to the Willis Pyle tribute should physically mail an image to Howard Green c/o The Walt Disney Studios, 500 S. Buena Vista St., Burbank, CA 91521-4859.
Would be nice to show Willis some love since very few make it to this rarified milestone. Feel free to spread the word.