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Burton Fred Gillett was an American director, writer, and animator, who worked on many Silly Symphonies for Walt Disney Animation Studios.

Gillet was born on October 15, 1891 to his father Lewis Martin Gillett (1859-1910), a watchmaker at a jewelry store, and his mother Fra McClure (1867-1944). In 1904, his family moved to Pennsylvania, where, as a high school student in 1907, Judge’s Weekly awarded him second prize in a drawing contest conducted by the publication. He commuted to New York to attend the Art Students League in Manhattan around 1910. During his art education, he worked as a cashier at a lumber company.

Gillett started his professional artistic career as a newspaper cartoonist/writer for The Connellsville News and later, as a reporter for The Daily Courier. By 1913, he moved to New York, where he worked as a cartoonist for the Newburgh Daily News, and became the head of their art department. In 1918, Gillett changed careers and began directing animated shorts companies, like International Film Service in Manhattan, William Randolph Hearst’s King Features Syndicate, the Barré-Bowers studio, Max Fleischer studios, and Pat Sullivan studios.

In 1929, Walt Disney visited New York for talented animator and discovered Gillett along with Ben Sharpsteen and began as an animator on early Mickey Mouse cartoons and Silly Symphonies before directing his first short, Wild Waves. Following Carl Stalling's departure from the studio in January 1930, Gillett took charge of some of the directorial duties. Many of his colleagues recalled Gillett’s boundless enthusiasm and stimulation as a director, as he acted out the character’s movement with his body to his animators and musical composer; primarily working with Bert Lewis and Frank Churchill. Despite his contributions, Gillett also had a notorious temperment that left some feeling distain towards him.

In 1936, he took charge at Van Beuren studios where he attempted to revive Felix the Cat with methods he learned from Disney only to have minimal success. Despite a second stint at Disney directing Lonesome Ghosts, The Moth and the Flame, and Brave Little Tailor, his problems with alcohol and mental instability led to him leaving the animation industry in 1940.

Gillett led a more private life while still remaining in the West Coast and making periodical visits to Connellsville, where he was still fondly remembered for his newspaper work. He passed away in 1971 at Los Angeles, California.

Disney Filmography

Year Film Position
1929 The Barnyard Battle Animator- uncredited
1929 The Karnival Kid Animator - uncredited
1929 Mickey's Choo-Choo Animator- uncredited
1929 Mickey's Follies Animator- uncredited
1929 The Plowboy Animator- uncredited
1929 The Jazz Fool Animator- uncredited
1929 Wild Waves Director- uncredited
1930 Cannibal Capers Director - uncredited
1930 The Gorilla Mystery Animator- uncredited
1930 Frolicking Fish Director - uncredited
1930 The Fire Fighters Director
Story - uncredited
1930 Arctic Antics Director
1930 The Shindig Director - uncredited
1930 The Chain Gang Director - uncredited
1930 The Gorilla Mystery Director
Animator - uncredited
1930 Monkey Melodies Director - uncredited
1930 The Picnic Director - uncredited
1930 Winter Director - uncredited
1930 Pioneer Days Director - uncredited
1930 Playful Pan Director- uncredited
1931 The Birthday Party Director- uncredited
1931 Birds of a Feather Director- uncredited
1931 Traffic Troubles Director- uncredited
1931 Mother Goose Melodies Director- uncredited
1931 The Moose Hunt Director
1931 The Delivery Boy Director
1931 The Busy Beavers Director
1931 Mickey Steps Out Director - uncredited
1931 Blue Rhythm Director- uncredited
1931 Fishin' Around Director- uncredited
1931 The Barnyard Broadcast Director- uncredited
1931 The Beach Party Director- uncredited
1931 Mickey Cuts Up Director- uncredited
1931 Mickey's Orphans Director- uncredited
1932 The Duck Hunt Director- uncredited
1932 The Mad Dog Director
1932 Flowers and Trees Director- uncredited
1932 Just Dogs Director- uncredited
1932 Mickey's Nightmare Director- uncredited
1932 Bugs in Love Director - uncredited
1932 King Neptune Director - uncredited
1932 The Wayward Canary Director
1932 Babes in the Woods Director- uncredited
1932 Mickey's Good Deed Director- uncredited
1933 Mickey's Pal Pluto Director
1933 Ye Olden Days Director- uncredited
1933 Three Little Pigs Director- uncredited
1933 Mickey's Gala Premier Director- uncredited
1933 The Steeple-Chase Director- uncredited
1933 Giantland Director - uncredited
1934 Shanghaied Director - uncredited
1934 Playful Pluto Director
1934 The Big Bad Wolf Director - uncredited
1934 Gulliver Mickey Director - uncredited
1934 Orphan's Benefit Director - uncredited
1934 Mickey Plays Papa Director - uncredited
1937 Lonesome Ghosts Director - uncredited
1938 The Moth and the Flame Director
1938 Brave Little Tailor Director - uncredited

Gallery

External Links


v - e - d
Walt Disney Animation Studios - Transparent Logo.png
1920s—1970s
Disney's Nine Old Men: Milt KahlFrank ThomasOllie JohnstonLes ClarkJohn LounsberyMarc DavisWard KimballEric LarsonWolfgang Reitherman

Animators: Bill TytlaArt BabbittLee BlairPreston BlairFred MooreShamus CulhaneCy YoungDon LuskNorman FergusonHal KingJack HannahDick KinneyHal AmbroKen O'BrienJudge WhitakerBill JusticeDon BluthGary GoldmanCharles A. NicholsBlaine GibsonJohn EwingWalt StanchfieldFred HellmichAmby PaliwodaWilfred JacksonXavier AtencioBen SharpsteenEarl HurdDale OliverEric CleworthDavid HandFred SpencerJulius SvendsenEd BenedictKenneth MuseRudolf IsingHugh HarmanFriz FrelengWalt KellyLeo SalkinJohn Dehner
Visual Development, Layout, Background Artists and Character Designers: Gustaf TenggrenMary BlairMarjorie RalstonLillian BoundsJoe GrantMel ShawClaude CoatsDon DaGradiJohn HenchEyvind EarleKen O'ConnorThor PutnamAlbert HurterJohn HubleyHerbert RymanDon GriffithBasil DavidovichJack BoydPeter EllenshawRuthie TompsonEarl Duvall
Storyboard Artists and Writers: Bill PeetRalph WrightDick HuemerFloyd NormanYale GraceyTed SearsErdman PennerJoe RinaldiWinston HiblerOtto EnglanderWilliam CottrellBill BergAl BertinoT. HeeHomer BrightmanTed OsbourneLarry ClemmonsHarry ReevesJesse Marsh
Directors: Clyde GeronimiHamilton LuskeJack KinneyTed BermanRichard RichNathan GrenoGeorge ScribnerRiley ThomsonDick LundyJack KingBurt Gillett
Producers: Walt DisneyRon MillerKen AndersonDon DuckwallPerce PearceMargaret J. Winkler

1980s—Present
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 KatzenbergBob Chapek
Signature Voice Actors: Jim CummingsAlan TudykKatie LowesJohn DiMaggioMaurice LaMarcheJodi BensonDavid Ogden StiersJesse CortiPaul BriggsRaymond S. PersiPhil JohnstonFrank WelkerBill FarmerBrian Cummings
Signature Musicians: Robert B. Sherman Richard M. Sherman Alan Menken Kristen Anderson-Lopez Robert LopezLin-Manuel MirandaHoward AshmanTim RicePhil CollinsStephen SchwartzMarc ShaimanDanny Troob
Supervising Animators: Glen KeaneAndreas DejaAlex KupershmidtEric GoldbergMark HennJohn PomeroyRandy HaycockDale BaerT. Daniel HofstedtTony BancroftTom BancroftTony FucileAnthony DeRosaRuss EdmondsMichael SurreyBruce W.SmithDuncan MarjoribanksRuben AquinoNik RanieriRon HusbandRick FarmiloeTom SitoTony AnselmoRandy Cartwright
Visual Development & Storyboard Artists: Dean DeBloisLisa KeeneClaire KeaneBrittney LeeJin KimShiyoon KimCory Loftis

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