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Willis Pyle

  • Birthplace: Portis, Kansas
  • Birthday: September 03
Date of passing: 
June 02, 2016

Willis Pyle was an animator, best known for his work on the Disney cartoon classics Pinocchio, Bambi and Fantasia. He was also the creator of the near-sighted, accident-prone character Mr. Magoo.

Additionally, Pyle lent his animation skills to the films Raggedy Ann & Andy: A Musical Adventure and The Mouse and His Child as well as the shorts "Robin Hoodlum," "The Magic Flute," "Ragtime Bear," "Punchy de Leon" and "Trouble Indemnity," among others.

The future animator was attending the University of Colorado as an art student and working as an advertising illustrator when he noticed a poster on campus advertising Walt Disney studio’s search for artists. He moved to Hollywood and began work at Disney in 1937 as an office boy, then worked his way up to assisting on three films. He left Disney briefly to work for animation producer Walter Lantz, where he helped out on Woody Woodpecker cartoons.

Pyle also contributed to the 1951 film short "Gerald McBoing-Boing" — which was the recipient of an Academy Award for best animated short — and later worked on the series The Gerald McBoing-Boing Show. Additionally, Pyle contributed to the shows The ABC Saturday Superstar Movie and Drawing Power, and the miniseries This Is America, Charlie Brown.

Willis Pyle was an animator, best known for his work on the Disney cartoon classics Pinocchio, Bambi and Fantasia. He was also the creator of the near-sighted, accident-prone character Mr. Magoo.

Additionally, Pyle lent his animation skills to the films Raggedy Ann & Andy: A Musical Adventure and The Mouse and His Child as well as the shorts "Robin Hoodlum," "The Magic Flute," "Ragtime Bear," "Punchy de Leon" and "Trouble Indemnity," among others.

The future animator was attending the University of Colorado as an art student and working as an advertising illustrator when he noticed a poster on campus advertising Walt Disney studio’s search for artists. He moved to Hollywood and began work at Disney in 1937 as an office boy, then worked his way up to assisting on three films. He left Disney briefly to work for animation producer Walter Lantz, where he helped out on Woody Woodpecker cartoons.

Pyle also contributed to the 1951 film short "Gerald McBoing-Boing" — which was the recipient of an Academy Award for best animated short — and later worked on the series The Gerald McBoing-Boing Show. Additionally, Pyle contributed to the shows The ABC Saturday Superstar Movie and Drawing Power, and the miniseries This Is America, Charlie Brown.

He also wrote for the TV movies Really Rosie, Noah’s Animals, A Special Valentine with the Family Circus, A Family Circus Christmas and the TV short Halloween is Grinch Night.

Pyle served for a time in the U.S. Army Air Force First Motion Picture Unit in Culver City, after which he drew for Vogue magazine. His brother was the late Denver Pyle, best known for playing Uncle Jesse on the 1979 to 1985 CBS series The Dukes of Hazzard.

Willis Pyle died June 2, 2016, in New York City. He 101.

 

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