James Algar

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Full Name:

Algar James

Occupation / Title:

, ,

Date of birth:


Date of death:



Modesto, California

Associated studios:

Walt Disney Studios


James Algar was an animator, director, and screenwriter associated with The Walt Disney Studios from his time of employment in 1934 to his retirement in 1977. Algar attended Stanford University, where he was the editor of the university’s humour magazine The Chapparal. He contributed original cartoons to the magazine, developing an interest in animation in the process. In 1934, Algar received a master’s degree in journalism before working for Disney Studios as an animator. In addition to directing The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949) and Fantasia (1940), Algar directed several films in Disney’s True-Life Adventures series.

Career outline

In 1934, Algar started working for Disney Studios as an animator for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937). He later directed The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, which was cited as the foundation of the film Fantasia (1940). Algar directed Health for the Americas: Cleanliness Brings Health (1945), which was produced for The Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs by Walt Disney Studios.

In addition to his work in animation, Algar directed several documentary films for Disney’s True-Life Adventures series, including The African Lion, Seal Island, Beaver Valley, Bear Country, and Wild Wilderness. 

Algar worked for Walt Disney Studios until his retirement on October 31, 1977.

Honors and awards

  • Look Magazine Movie Award for outstanding achievement in production
  • Two-time recipient of the Certificate of Award from the Southern California Motion Picture Council
  • Worked on several Academy Award-winning films including Nature’s Half Acre, The Living Desert, The Vanishing Prairie, Beaver Valley, Bear Country, Wild Wilderness.


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