Arthur Harold Babitsky, better known as Art Babbitt, was an animator at the Disney Studio. He created and established the character of Goofy in his Analysis of the Goof, in which he explained Goofy's personality, appearance, movements and mannerisms. Babbitt also served as the lead animator of Mr. Stork, from the 1941 film, Dumbo.
Feud with Disney
Babbitt was one of the main leaders of the Disney animators' strike of 1941, during the production of Dumbo. One of the studio's higher-paid animators, Babbitt sympathized with low-ranking employees, who made as little as $12 a week. Babbitt joined the Screen Cartoonist's Guild, a trade union made up of animators from various Hollywood animation studios, demanding better working conditions and pay. Until then, Walt Disney had thought of his animation staff as family and felt personally betrayed by striking animators, particularly Babbitt. Disney fired Babbitt on May 27, 1941, which prompted 200 animators to strike the following day.
Five weeks later, the strike was resolved with the assistance of the National Labor Relations Board, who found in the Guild's favor. Disney agreed to become a union shop, and has remained so ever since. Babbitt, by now an enemy of Walt, was rehired and fired several times. Babbitt worked a final stint at Disney following his service as a Marine in the Asiatic-Pacific Theater of World War II, but he was so unhappy with his life at Disney by now that he left shortly thereafter to join United Productions of America.
Walt's nephew, Roy Edward Disney, contacted Babbitt in 1991 and the two ended the long-standing feud. Nine Old Men members Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston spoke at Babbitt's funeral in 1992. Babbitt was posthumously named a Disney Legend in 2007.
He married three times. His first marriage, to Marjorie Belcher (the live-action reference for Snow White, who would later become Marge Champion), lasted from 1937 to 1940. His second marriage was to Annemarie Dinah Gottlieb, a Holocaust survivor, and lasted from 1949 to 1963. His third marriage, to Barbara Perry in 1967, lasted from 1967 until his death in 1992. He received over 100 awards for his achievements in animation.
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