Ken O'ConnorOccupation / Title:
07/08/1908Date of death:
Ken O’Connor was born in Perth, Australia, and died in Burbank California. He was a legendary Disney layout artist, designer as well as art director. During his time at Disney, he helped the studio achieve a high level of visual dynamism in their classic animated feature productions and cartoon shorts.
O’Connor contributed to 15 full-length feature animated films during his time at Disney, including Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), Pinocchio (1940), Fantasia (1940), Dumbo (1941), Cinderella (1950), Alice in Wonderland (1951), Lady and the Tramp (1955), as well as acclaimed Mickey Mouse cartoons such as Clock Cleaners (1937) and the Charles Nichols and Ward Kimball feature which was the first CinemaScope cartoon: Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom in 1953.
O’Connor was so much more than his job of a layout man, designer, choreographer and sketch artist, working until he retired in 1975. After his retirement, he continued working occasionally as a consultant for Disney, and developed “The Universe of Energy” show at EPCOT. In addition, he created the Back to Neverland short film starring Robin Williams and Walter Cronkite which inaugurated the opening of the Disney-MGM Studio Theme park in Florida in 1989.
O’Connor also pursued a second career after his retirement, working as an instructor teaching young animators at the Disney created California Institute of the Arts, which was originally called the Chouinard Art Institute and attended by O’Connor earlier in his life.
He died at the age of 90 in his Burbank, California home in May 1998.
Lenburg, Jeff. Who’s Who in Animated Cartoons: An International Guide to Film & Television’s Award-Winning and Legendary Animators. New York: Applause Theatre & Cinema Books, 2006. Print.