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Mothers of Animation

by Maya Johnson
Mothers of Animation

Mothers of AnimationEveryone knows famous animators and cartoonists such as Walt Disney and Tim Burton, but there are also female animators who aren’t well-known by many people. An article by Carrie Tupper, lists a few women who have worked on animations many may recognize today.

“The lack of notable female animation professionals within history only reinforces this assumption that it is ‘boys club’ industry,” Tupper writes.

She admitted as a child, Tupper idolized Walt Disney animators like Glen Keane (character animator of Ariel and Pocahontas). While it seems men have taken over the animation industry, the truth is that women have been part of the industry for years.

One animator Tupper mentions, is LaVerne Harding (1905-1984). She was hired by Producer/Director Walter Lantz, as an inker. In 1934, Harding became the second women in animation history to receive onscreen credit for an Oswald the Lucky Rabbit cartoon called Wolf! Wolf! Harding worked at Lantz Productions for 26 years. She also animated The Pink Panther.

According to Tupper, Bianca Majoile (1901-???) was the first woman to be hired by Walt Disney for the story department. Her first project was the unforgettable Pinocchio. She also had a hand in the early development of Peter Pan, Cinderella and Fantasia. The Hollywood Citizen News did an exposure on Majoile, but never mentioned her by name.

Another woman to be hired by Disney was Retta Scott (1916-1990). She was the first woman to animate for Disney. Tupper mentions that Scott spent her time at local zoos, sketching animals. She was hired as a story development artist for the award winning film Bambi in 1938. Another Disney animator, Marc Davis, stated that no one matched her ability to draw animals from all angles. In 2000, Scott was posthumously named a Disney legend.

Today, there are more women in the animation industry, creating original material, or remaking classic cartoons many adults grew up with. Animation is a popular medium that is making great strides in change.

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