There has been a lot of obituaries written this year and it was pretty obvious that we weren’t quite done yet… but when the person who passes was 106, you almost want to say, “Well done.” Tyrus Wong, the artist whose work was the inspiration for he Disney cartoon Bambi, passed away today in his home with his three daughters Kim, Kay and Tai-Ling.
Wong was born in China but immigrated to the Bay Area when he was 9 years old. He got a scholarship for art school and in 1938 took a low-level animation job. He heard about the plans for Bambi and put together some painted samples. Disney liked them enough to use them as the inspiration for the look of the film. He also worked on such classic films as The Wild Bunch, Rebel Without A Cause and The Green Berets.
He was named a Disney Legend in 2001 and was featured in the Walt Disney Family Museum in 2013. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award at this years Asian World Film Festival which also premiered a documentary on his life called Tyrus directed by Pam Tom. He is also featured in an 8 decade career retrospective called Water to Paper, Paint to Sky: The Art of Tyrus Wong, at the Museum of Chinese in America in Manhattan, New York City.
His passing was announced on his Facebook page.