Full Name:

Hamilton "Ham" Luske

Occupation / Title:

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Date of birth:


Date of death:



Chicago, Illinois, USA


Hamilton Luske was born in Chicago on October 16, 1903.

Family and early life

Luske was married to Frances Mary Crabb and had four children: Tommy Luske, who was a child voice actor at Disney, Carol Jean Luske, Peggy Finefrock, who worked as a secretary at Disney for a period of time, and James “Jim” Luske, who also worked at Disney as a mailman and then an animation camera operator.

Career outline

Hamilton Luske first worked as a cartoonist for the Oakland Post-Inquirer. He joined Walt Disney Studios in 1931 as an animator and worked on Mickey Mouse shorts and Silly Symphonies. He played a significant role in the development of personality animation through Silly Symphonies, particularly his work for the characters Max Hare in Tortoise and the Hare and Jenny Wren in Who Killed Cock Robin?

While at Disney, Luske developed a step-by-step system for scene planning and taught younger animators. He was a supervising director on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and turned towards directing. He made groundbreaking work in animating people by using live-action actors as a reference, and he was the one who hired actress Margie Bell as the model for Snow White. His directing work includes government training films and educational films as well as supervising director for Pinocchio and sequence director for several feature-length animated films for Disney, such as Fantasia, Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, Lady and the Tramp, One Hundred and One Dalmations, and the cartoon sequences for Mary Poppins. Luske often brought on his own family members in Disney films as voice actors and references for animation, with his wife serving as the live-action model for Persephone in the Silly Symphony short Goddess of the Spring (1934), his son Jim for the reference of Baby Weems in The Reluctant Dragon (1941) and Tommy as the voice of Michael Darling in Peter Pan, their family dog, Blondie, as Lady in Lady and the Tramp, and the voices of his children were featured as the flowers in Alice in Wonderland.

He later went into Disney’s television division to work as an associate producer and director for Disneyland, Walt Disney Presents, and Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color.

Luske died in Los Angeles on February 18, 1968.

Honors and awards

He won the Oscar for Special Effects in 1965 for Mary Poppins and was officially inducted as a Disney Legend in 1999.


Korkis, Jim. “In Their Own Words: Hamilton Luske Remembered By His Children.” Cartoon Research, 2015.

“Ham Luske.” Walt Disney Archives.

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