Tom SitoOccupation / Title:
05/19/1956Date of death:
New York, New York
Tom Sito is a highly influential American animator, animation historian and teacher, who has often been considered one of the key figures in the Disney Renaissance.
Tom Sito developed a strong foundation in animation technique from several institutions. He started learning animation while taking cartooning at the High School of Art and Design. He then practiced both cartooning and animation at the School of Visual Arts. He also studied life drawing at The Art Students League of New York.
Tom Sito’s animation career has spanned several studios, films, and mentorships with great animators of the previous generation. After completing his studies at SVA, he continued to work under his mentor Harvey Kurtzman and made cartoons for Dixie Cups and did gag writing for Playboy Magazine. He also worked with well-known Disney animator Shamus Culhane on one of his last animated projects. It was in 1976 that he began working with several of the big names of animation, and opened his way to directorial assistance and animation on many major films. It was in 1976 that he was asked by Richard Williams to work on the film Raggedy Ann & Andy: A Musical Adventure. After this job, he began to work with several famous animators, such as Eric Goldberg, John Canemaker and Art Babbitt.
Tom Sito then relocated to Los Angeles and began to work on more television animation, for companies such as Hanna-Barbera.
In 1987, he was called upon again by Richard Williams to assist with another project, to animate for the Academy Award winning film Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988). Sito then became a major animator for Disney, working on several projects of the Disney Renaissance. These include The Little Mermaid (1989), The Beauty and the Beast (1991), Aladdin (1992), The Lion King (1994), Pocahontas (1995), Fantasia 2000 (1999), and Dinosaur (2000).
In 1995, he moved on to assist with the setting up and development of the new Dreamworks studio. At Dreamworks, he worked on films such as Antz (1998), The Prince of Egypt (1998), Paulie (1998), and Shrek (2001). He has worked on several other animated projects since, for Warner Bros., PBS and an animation by Taiwan’s National Palace Museum, winning first prize at the 2006 Tokyo Anime Festival.
He is also a world renowned educator and author on the topic of animation. From 1992-2001, Sito was President of the Motion Picture Screen Cartoonist’s Local 839. He has taught animation and the history of animation at UCLA Film School, The American Film Institute, Woodbury College, Santa Monica College, and the USC School of Cinematic Arts. In 2014, he was named the Chair of the John C. Hench Division of Animation and Digital Arts at USC. Sito has also written two extremely fundamental books on animation history, Drawing the Line: The Untold Story of the Animation Unions from Bosko to Bart Simpson (2006) and Moving Innovation, A History of Computer Animation (2013).
Making ‘Toons, Inside the Most Popular Animation TV Shows and Movies, by Allan Neuwirth, Allworth Press New York 2004.
Disney’s Art of Animation From Mickey Mouse to Beauty and the Beast, by Bob Thomas, Hyperion Press, 1991.