Ruthie Tompson, a pioneering animator and ‘Disney legend’, has passed away at the age of 111.
The supercentenarian worked predominantly as a camera technician and artist during her career, most notably in the ink and paint department for the Walt Disney Company in its first golden age.
Tompson died peacefully in her sleep in her home at the Motion Picture and Television Fund in Woodland Hills, California, on Sunday, October 10.
After taking a job at Dubrock’s Riding Academy in the San Fernando Valley at the age of 18, she ended up meeting Roy and Walt Disney. The latter figurehead late offered her a job as a painter, where she worked on the final touches of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
Fortunately, this evolved into nearly a 40-year tenure with Disney. She was promoted to final checker and scene planning, taking the onus of reviewing animation cels. Over the course of her career, she worked on the likes of Pinocchio, Fantasia, Dumbo, Sleeping Beauty, Mary Poppins, The Aristocats and Robin Hood. She retired in 1975 after completing work on The Rescuers.
‘Ruthie was a legend among animators, and her creative contributions to Disney – from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to The Rescuers – remain beloved classics to this day,’ Bob Iger, executive chairman at Disney, said in a statement.
‘While we will miss her smile and wonderful sense of humour, her exceptional work and pioneering spirit will forever be an inspiration to us all.’
On her 110th birthday last year, she gave some advice to D23 to mark the occasion: ‘Have fun. Try to do as much as you can for yourself. Remember all the good things in life.’
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