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Arthur Babbitt

Arthur Babbitt


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Also Known As: Arthur Babitsky,Art Babbitt Died: March 4, 1992
Born: September 28, 1907 Cause of Death: kidney failure
Birth Place: Omaha, Nebraska, USA Profession: Animation ... animator animation instructor director of commercial department of Hanna-Barbera


A master of character animation, Art Babbitt's career spanned the early days of sound animation at Terrytoons and Disney; the glory days of the lavish pre-war Disney features; the 1950s innovations of UPA; the limited commercial animation of Hanna-Barbera in the 60s; and the big-budget animated features of the late 80s and 90s. He was significant both for his extraordinary artistic achievements and for his central role in the fateful Disney animators' strike of 1941. As a leader in the cartoonists' union which clashed with management over wages and working conditions, Babbitt gained the lasting enmity of the paternalistic Walt Disney, with whom he nearly came to blows on the picket line during the height of the strike. Legend has it that Walt's bitterness over the strike motivated the waning of his interest in animated features in the 1940s and forever changed his attitude toward his staff.

As an animator, Babbitt is best known for developing the personality of Goofy, one of the most beloved Disney characters. He also animated the Big Bad Wolf for the classic 1933 short, "The Three Little Pigs" and worked on such landmark Disney features as "Snow White", "Pinocchio", and "Dumbo". Perhaps his most celebrated work at Disney was his animation of the dancing mushrooms in the "Nutcracker Suite" sequence of "Fantasia".

Babbitt also did memorable work for Warner Brothers, UPA, and Hanna-Barbera. He won more than 80 awards for independent TV commercials in the 1950s and 60s, including spots for the Ajax Cleanser elves and a popular ad involving a man who could not pronounce "Worcestershire Sauce". Babbitt headed the commercial department of Hanna-Barbera from 1966 to 1975 and taught master classes in animation at Richard Williams' London studio beginning in 1973. Babbitt's last work was on "The Thief and the Cobbler", a major animated feature not yet released.

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