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Disney Animator Don Lusk Passes Away At 105

Don Lusk Death Obituary

Don Lusk, an animator who worked on many of Disney's classic films, has passed away at the age of 105. Lusk's career spanned more than sixty years, beginning when he was hired by Disney in 1933 and later going on to include 23 years at Hanna-Barbera, where he worked until his retirement in the early 1990s. According to the Disney Animation Research Library, which confirmed the news of his death in a post on Instagram, Lusk was considered the last surviving artist from the early days of Disney Animation.

Born October 18, 1913, Lusk worked on many Disney animated films that are now considered classics - including Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Bambi, and Pinocchio. For Pinocchio he worked on animation for Gepetto's pet goldfish, Cleo, and not long afterwards he went on to single-handedly animate the 'danse arabe' portion of Fantasia's Nutcracker sequence, in which a collection of fish perform a hypnotic and kaleidoscopic underwater dance. He took part in the 1941 Disney animators' strike, and took a break from his career at Disney during World War II for military service with the U.S. Marines, returning in the late 1940s to work on titles like Song of the South and The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad.

In the 1960s and 1970s Lusk worked on many of the Charlie Brown TV programs, including What a Nightmare, Charlie Brown! and You're a Good Sport, Charlie Brown. Later in his career he was an animation director for the children's TV show Captain Planet and the Planeteers, and he directed more than 100 episodes of The Smurfs during the 1980s.

Despite the fact that his work on Fantasia is now acclaimed as one of the great early works of animation, Lusk revealed in a 2013 interview with The Animation Guild Blog that the final work was rushed and he was so dissatisfied with the finished version that, at the premiere, he wanted to "crawl under the seats, it was so bad." He also commented on his long life, saying, "I never thought I'd be 101, but I feel OK. I just need a new pair of legs!"

Lusk finally retired in 1995 at the age of 80, following his work on the children's TV show The Pirates of Dark Water, and in 2015 received the Winsor McCay Award for lifetime achievement at the Annie Awards. His son, Skip Lusk, presented the award and Don Lusk accepted it in a video message, saying, "It's certainly a great, great honor. If someone is to have a peak in their career, then this is it."

R.I.P. Don Lusk: October 18, 1913 - December 30, 2018

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