Grant was born in New York City and began working for the Disney Studios in 1933 beginning with the Mickey Mouse short Mickey's Gala Premiere. He also created the Witch for Walt's first film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs released in 1937 and also helped co-write Dumbo released in 1941 and also led development for Pinocchio and Fantasia both released in 1940. During World War II he worked on the Academy Award-winning cartoon Der Fuehrer's Face, but left Disney Studios in 1949 to start his own greeting card business. Grant returned to Disney in 1989 and worked on Beauty and the Beast (1991), Aladdin (1992), The Lion King (1994), and Pocahontas (1995), Mulan (1998), and Fantasia 2000 (2000). He even worked on Pixar's Monsters, Inc.
Sadly, on May 6, 2005, while working at his studio on the animated short Lorenzo, Joe Grant died of a heart attack at the age of 96 just 9 days short of his 97th Birthday. Chicken Little (2005), which was released 6 months after his death and the last Disney film on which he worked, was dedicated to him. It was said on the Disney DVD of Lady and the Tramp that Grant and his wife owned a dog named Lady on whom the main character of the movie was based.
A book about both Grant and Joe Ranft, who died in a car accident on August 16, 2005 (just 3 months after Joe Grant's passing) entitled Two Guys Named Joe: Master Animation Storytellers (ISBN 9781423110675) by Animation Historian John Canemaker was published on August 3, 2010.
|1932||Parade of the Award Nominees||Celebrity Caricatures|
|1933||Mickey's Gala Premier||Celebrity Caricatures|
|1937||Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs||Character Design|
|1946||Make Mine Music||Production Supervision|
|1951||Alice in Wonderland||Story|
|1955||Lady and the Tramp||Script (Uncredited)|
|1991||Beauty and the Beast||Visual Development|
|1994||The Lion King||Character Design/Visual Development|
|1995||Pocahontas||Character Design/Visual Development|
|1996||The Hunchback of Notre Dame||Character Design/Visual Development|
|1997||Hercules||Character Design/Visual Development|
|1999||Tarzan||Character Design/Visual Development|
|1999||Fantasia 2000||Original Concept ("Carnival of the Animals")|
|2001||Very special thanks|
|2002||Lilo & Stitch||Story consultant (Uncredited)|
|Treasure Planet||Additional Visual Development|
|2003||Brother Bear||Key Animator|
|2004||Home on the Range||Additional Visual Development|
|2005||Lorenzo||Original Concept/Story Artist|
|2005||Chicken Little||This film is dedicated to him|
|2009||Up||This film is also dedicated to him.|