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Art Babbitt
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Animator
    (October 8, 1907-March 4, 1992)
    Born in Omaha, Nebraska
    Birth name was Arthur Harold Babitzky
    Worked for Terrytoons, Walt Disney, UPA, and Hanna-Barbera
    Animation director for ‘Pinocchio’ (1940) and ‘Dumbo’ (1942)
    Also worked on the features ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarves’ (1937), ‘Fantasia’ (1940), ‘Fun and Fancy Free’ (1947), ‘Raggedy Ann and Andy: A Musical Adventure’ (1977), and ‘The Thief and the Cobbler’ (1993)
    Animated several Goofy shorts
    Named a Disney Legend (2007)
    He changed his last name to hide his Jewish ancestry.
    He was married three times, divorced twice.
    During an animators strike against the studio, he and Walt Disney almost came to blows after he heckled Walt through a bullhorn (1941).
    After the strike was settled (and the studio was forced to rehire him after Babbitt filed an unfair labor practices suit), Walt never spoke to him again.
    For decades, official Disney histories would avoid mentioning him.
    He met his first wife, dancer Marge Champion, when she was working as an animators’ model for Snow White.
    He transformed the bit player Dippy Dawg into Goofy, one of Disney’s enduring characters.
    Although one of the best-paid artists at Disney, he joined the strike to support lower echelon employees, such as cel painters and in-betweeners, who were earning $12 a week. (Earlier, when his assistant on ‘Fantasia,’ Bill Hurtz, had been unable to support his family on what the studio paid him, Babbitt augmented Hurtz’s salary out of his own pocket.)
    He served with the Marines in the Pacific Theater during World War II.
    Animator Tom Sito said, ‘Art Babbitt was one of the great animation teachers. He had the ability to put into words the processes most animators only knew by instinct.’
    Walt’s nephew, Roy E. Disney, contacted him to end the feud (1991).
    Asked if the animators had been on drugs when they created ‘Fantasia,’ he replied, ‘I personally was addicted to Pepto-Bismol and Feen-a-Mint.’

Credit: C. Fishel


 
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