Oliver grew up on a east Kansas farm and studied art at Bethany College, Lindsborg, Kansas. He entered the US Army in March of 1942 and then entered the Army Air Corps Glider Pilot Program that summer. He went to the European Theater of Operations, (ETO), and was assigned to the 434th Troop Carrier Group. He participated in the airborne operations in Normandy (D-Day), Holland, and the Rhine River Crossing. While in the army, he sketched and painted art related to his time as a pilot.
After the war, Oliver began his career as a commercial illustrator, working for the Walt Disney Studio in the animation department in 1947. He contributed to animated films, like Peter Pan, Sleeping Beauty, One Hundred and One Dalmatians, The Rescuers, and The Fox and the Hound, where Wolfgang Reitherman has asked him to help animate after Frank Thomas left the production. Oliver also taught classes at a union for new talent in the industry.
After thirty-five years, he was forced to retire following a bad car accident which resulted him being in a coma for several days and the death of his fiancée. Despite this tragedy, he kept himself busy with sculpturing. He died of an aneurysm in 2003.
|1953||Peter Pan||assistant animator - uncredited|
|1955||Lady and the Tramp||assistant animator|
|1959||Sleeping Beauty||assistant animator|
|1961||One Hundred and One Dalmatians||assistant animator|
|1963||The Sword in the Stone||assistant animator - uncredited|
|1967||The Jungle Book||assistant animator|
|1973||Robin Hood||key assistant animator|
|1974||Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too||animator - uncredited|
|1977||The Rescuers||key assistant animator|
|1981||The Fox and the Hound||character animation|
|1990||The Rescuers Down Under||animator - uncredited (early production)|