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Disney's longest serving employee Burny Mattinson has died at 87

Disney's longest serving employee Burny Mattinson has died at 87

The legendary animator, director, producer, and story artist was involved with some of the biggest movies in the company's history.

Disney's longest serving employee, Burny Mattinson, has died at the age of 87.

The legendary animator, director, producer, and story artist worked at the Walt Disney Animation Studios for seven incredible decades.

He was due to receive his 70th anniversary service award, which would have been the company's first ever, later this year in June.

Mattinson was working hard on big Disney titles, like last year's Strange World, right up to his death.

He worked as an artist for iconic films like Lady and the Tramp, One Hundred and One Dalmatians, The Sword in the Stone, The Jungle Book, and The Rescuers.


Walt Disney Animation Studios Chief Creative Officer, Jennifer Lee, said in a statement: “Burny’s artistry, generosity, and love of Disney Animation and the generations of storytellers that have come through our doors, for seven decades, has made us better—better artists, better technologists, and better collaborators.

"All of us who have had the honor to know him and learn from him will ensure his legacy carries on.”

In addition to being an artist for Disney, he also served as a 'key member of the story team' for the likes of Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Tarzan, and Mulan.

Disney animator Eric Goldberg, who was one of Mattinson's friends and close colleagues, said Burny worked hard to pass the torch to the newcomers in the business.

“Burny was the Renaissance man of Disney Animation,” Goldberg said.

“He literally did everything that could be done at the studio—assistant animator, animator, story artist, producer, and director of many films that made an indelible mark on our collective appreciation of the Disney ethos.

Cinematic Collection / Alamy Stock Photo

"He was also, when he started, traffic boy to Walt, giving Walt his weekly spending cash.”

Eric added: "Burny was low-key, charming, inventive, and superbly gifted as a draftsperson and a storyteller.

"His storyboards were beautifully acted and wonderfully atmospheric, which I first encountered when I joined the studio for Aladdin.

"The more I saw of his work, the more I became in awe of his breadth of talent.

"I value his cheerful friendship and lasting inspiration to me and so many other animation artists.

"He will be missed, but not forgotten.”

Disney confirmed Burny passed away at the Canyon Oaks Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Canoga Park, California, after battling a short illness.

What an absolute legend.

Featured Image Credit: D23/Cinematic Collection / Alamy Stock Photo

Topics: Disney