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Wolfgang Reitherman, also known and sometimes credited as Woolie Reitherman, was a famed Disney animator and director, and one of Disney's Nine Old Men.

Personal life

Born in Munich, Germany, Reitherman's family moved to America when he was a child. After attending Pasadena Junior College and briefly working as a draftsman for Douglas Aircraft, Reitherman returned to school at the Chouinard Art Institute, graduating in 1933.

Reitherman had three sons named Bruce, Robert, and Richard, the first of whom did both speaking and singing voices of Mowgli in The Jungle Book, and the first voice of Christopher Robin (in Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree), and the other two were two of the voice actors of Arthur in The Sword in the Stone (the third of whom being the late Rickie Sorensen).

Career

Reitherman began working for Disney in 1934, along with future Disney legends Ward Kimball and Milt Kahl. The three worked together on a number of classic Disney shorts, including The Band Concert, Music Land, and Elmer Elephant.

All in all, Reitherman worked on various Disney feature films produced from 1937, until his retirement in 1981, from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (the Magic Mirror) to The Fox and the Hound (co-producer). He did Monstro the Whale in Pinocchio, the climactic dinosaur fight in Igor Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring in Fantasia, the Headless Horseman chase in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow section in The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, the Crocodile in Peter Pan, and Maleficent as a dragon in Sleeping Beauty. Beginning with 1961's One Hundred and One Dalmatians, "Woolie", as he was called by friends, served as Disney's chief animation director. One of Reitherman's productions, the 1969 short Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day, won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. Because the rightful winner, Walt Disney himself, didn't live to receive said Academy Award, Reitherman accepted it instead. He also served as a producer and sequence director, and starred as himself in a 1941 short entitled The Reluctant Dragon. All three of Reitherman's sons — Bruce, Richard and Robert — provided voices for Disney characters, including Mowgli in The Jungle Book, Christopher Robin in the Winnie the Pooh films, and Wart in The Sword in the Stone.

Reitherman directed several Disney animated feature films including, One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961), The Sword in the Stone (1963), The Jungle Book (1967), The Aristocats (1970), Robin Hood (1973) and The Rescuers (1977). He is also known for reusing animation in movies directed by him. According to Floyd Norman, this was just one of his trademarks, and had nothing to do with time or cost savings: "Woolie was our director on The Jungle Book. Reuse was just Woolie's thing. He never did it to save money. I really don’t think the “Old Guard” ever had any interest in saving money. I was never a big fan of reuse, but it wasn’t my place to tell these old guys what to do. One final thought. It never seemed to bother Walt, and I never heard him complain about reuse."

Death

He was killed in a car accident near his home in Burbank in 1985, at the age of 75. In 1989, he was posthumously named a Disney Legend.

Characters Animated by Reitherman

Disney Director

Disney Producer

Miscellaneous Crew

Gallery

External links


v - e - d
Walt Disney Animation Studios - Transparent Logo
In the Past
Disney's Nine Old Men: Milt KahlFrank ThomasOllie JohnstonLes ClarkJohn LounsberyMarc DavisWard KimballEric LarsonWolfgang Reitherman

Animators: Bill TytlaArt BabbittPreston BlairEd LoveFred MooreShamus CulhaneCy YoungDon LuskNorman FergusonHal KingJack HannahJack KinneyHal AmbroKen O'BrienJudge WhitakerEric CleworthHarvey ToombsBill JusticeDon BluthGary GoldmanDon TowsleyCharles A. NicholsJoshua MeadorDon PattersonBlaine GibsonJohn KennedyJohn EwingWalt StanchfieldFred HellmichAndy Paliwoda
Visual Development, Layout, Background Artists and Character Designers: Gustaf TenggrenMary BlairJoe GrantCampbell GrantMel ShawClaude CoatsDon DaGradiJohn HenchEyvind EarleKen O'ConnorThor PutnamAlbert HurterJohn Hubley
Storyboard Artists and Writers: Ted SearsBill PeetRalph WrightWinston HiblerDick HuemerFloyd Norman
Directors: Clyde GeronimiHamilton LuskeWilfred JacksonBill RobertsJack KinneyBen SharpsteenArt StevensTed BermanRichard RichLeo MatsudaNathan Greno
Producers: Walt DisneyWinston HiblerRon MillerJoe HaleKen Anderson

In the Renaissance, the Present and the Revival
Renaissance Directors: Rob MinkoffRoger AllersGary TrousdaleKirk WiseChris SandersMark DindalJohn Musker

Story Trust Directors: Ron ClementsChris BuckByron HowardDon HallChris WilliamsRich MooreStephen J. Anderson
Producers: Peter Del VechoClark SpencerRoy ConliDorothy McKimDon Hahn
Chief Creative Officer: Jennifer Lee
Associated Figures: Bob IgerRoy Edward DisneyMichael EisnerJohn LasseterEd CatmullJeffrey Katzenberg
Signature Voice Actors: Jim CummingsAlan TudykKatie LowesJohn DiMaggioMaurice LaMarcheDavid Ogden StiersJesse CortiPaul BriggsRaymond S. PersiPhil JohnstonFrank WelkerBill Farmer
Signature Musicians: Sherman Brothers Robert B. Sherman Richard Sherman Alan Menken Kristen Anderson-Lopez Robert LopezLin-Manuel MirandaHoward AshmanTim RiceStephen Schwartz
Supervising Animators: Glen KeaneAndreas DejaRandy HaycockAlex KupershmidtAnthony DeRosaEric GoldbergMark HennJohn PomeroyT. Daniel HofstedtTony BancroftTom BancroftTony FucileRuss EdmondsDuncan MarjoribanksRuben AquinoNik RanieriRon HusbandRick Farmiloe
Visual Development & Storyboard Artists: Dean DeBloisLisa KeeneClaire KeaneBrittney LeeJin KimShiyoon KimCory Loftis