Dave Michener, Veteran Disney Animator And Co-Director of ‘The Great Mouse Detective,’ Dies At 85

Among his last tasks on the studio, he co-directed The Great Mouse Detective (1986) alongside John Musker, Ron Clements, and Burny Mattinson.

During the manufacturing of “Robin Hood,” from left to proper, Woolie Reitherman, Milt Kahl, Ken Anderson, Dave Michener, Frank Thomas, Ollie Johnston, and Larry Clemmons. Photo courtesy of The Walt Disney Company.

Michener was born in Los Angeles on November 5, 1932 right into a artistic household. His father was an architect who helped design many of the long-lasting buildings within the Miracle Mile district of the town, whereas his uncle was the bestselling writer, James Michener. Following his commencement from the Chouinard Art Institute, Michener was personally chosen by Walt Disney to work on the studio.

Disney, who had been impressed by an artwork exhibit of Michener’s at Chouinard, personally referred to as the 24-year-old artist to inform him that he had been employed. His first job was engaged on the Mickey Mouse Club television present, and shortly after, he was assigned to work on options, the place he turned a trusted assistant to Milt Kahl for seven years.

“I have always felt privileged to work for Disney,” Michener as soon as stated in an interview. “As a small boy of five or seven years old, my dad brought me out to the studio, and it was instant love. I never really wanted to work anywhere else. When you take an animated character and move an audience to tears, you’ve done a magical thing.”

Dave Michener, Burny Mattinson, John Musker, and Vincent Price evaluation the character Ratigan through the manufacturing of “The Great Mouse Detective.” Photo courtesy of The Walt Disney Company.

Michener additionally contributed to the event of EPCOT Center, producing and directing almost all of the character animation for the varied pavilions. He carried out comparable duties for Tokyo Disneyland’s “Meet the World” attraction, and for a PSA pre-show on the historical past of aviation at Disneyland. He formally retired from Disney on November 30, 1987.

Starting in 1989, Michener taught animation at Cal Arts. He additionally labored for Hanna-Barbera for a quantity of years post-Disney, racking up credit as storyboard artist, animation director, and different roles on tasks like Jetsons: The Movie, Once Upon a Forest, Tom & Jerry Kids, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventures, and Gravedale High, amongst others.

Michener is survived by his spouse, Donna, who shared his life for 67 years. He additionally leaves behind three daughters – Suzanne Gerhardt, Cynthia van Houten, and Donna Michelle Michener. His survivors additionally embrace six grandchildren and three nice grandchildren.

L to r: John Musker, Dave Michener, and Burny Mattinson in the course of the manufacturing of “The Great Mouse Detective.” Photo courtesy of The Walt Disney Company.

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