Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Legends: Milt Kahl

“Aw…you’re full of it!”

That is what Milt Kahl thought of Wolfgang Reitherman’s assessment of his work. Reitherman said, “These things look so beautiful, they could hang in a museum.” This is reference to Milt’s rough drawings of Merlin for The Sword in the Stone.”

Milt Kahl was born on March 22, 1909 in San Francisco. He attended high in there but left school early. His desire was to become a magazine illustrator or cartoonist, and he set about fulfilling that desire. Later, in business for himself, he saw the Disney short, “Three Little Pigs” and became captivated by the art of animation.

He was hired by Disney in 1934 and began work on Mickey Mouse cartoons, including the Academy Award winning “The Ugly Duckling”. Reading through his contributions to Disney feature animation is like reading a Who’s Who of memorable characters. His pencil helped to bring life to Pinocchio, the Fairy Godmother, Alice, Peter Pan, Tramp and others.

Kahl retired from the studio in 1976 and returned to the bay area. Milt Kahl passed away on April 19, 1987. He was 78 years old.

Milt was honored as a Disney Legend in 1989, along with the other “Nine Old Men.”

(Photo: The Disney Legends website)

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