John Hench was an American Imagineer and Disney Legend. He attended the Art Students' League in New York City, New York and received a scholarship to Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles, California. He also attended the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco and the Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles. In 1939, he joined Disney as a sketch artist in the story department working on Fantasia.

Always eager to learn, John accepted a variety of tasks over the years, including painting backgrounds on Dumbo and layouts for The Three Caballeros. His other film credits include art supervision on Make Mine Music, cartoon art treatments for So Dear to My Heart color and styling for Peter Pan, and animation effects for The Living Desert. In 1954, his special effects work on 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea won an Oscar. He also worked with Salvador Dali on the story of Destino in the 1940s and when the project was revived in 1999, he served as a consultant to help the team interpret the original artwork.

That same year, John left the Studio to work at what is today known as Walt Disney Imagineering, where his first assignment was to design attractions for the original Tomorrowland in Disneyland. Later in 1960, John worked closely with Walt in developing the pageantry, opening and closing ceremonies and daily presentations for the VIII Winter Olympic Games at Squaw Valley, as well as attractions for the 1964-65 New York World's Fair. He later helped master plan Walt Disney World and Tokyo Disneyland and develop ideas for theme parks, including Disney's California Adventure, Animal Kingdom, and Tokyo DisneySea.

John is also Mickey Mouse's official corporate portrait artist, having painted Mickey's portrait for his 25th (1953), 50th (1978), 60th (1988), 70th (1998), and finally, 75th (2003) birthdays. In 1999, John Hench celebrated his 60th year with the company. John Hench died on February 5, 2004, in Burbank, California.

He recalled one of those lessons, "Walt always said, 'You get down to Disneyland at least twice a month and you walk in the front entrance, don't walk in through the back. Eat with the people. Watch how they react to the work you've done down there.' This made an enormous difference in how we approached our work."

An eternal flame-bearer and senior vice president of Walt Disney Imagineering, John carried on Walt's ideals and standards. His assistant and confidante, Sandy Huskins said, "Sometimes John says, 'Tomorrow, we're going to the Park,' and we'll go down, stand in line and pretend we're guests. I always come back with a full load of notes."

v - e - d
Walt Disney Animation Studios - Transparent Logo
In the Past
Disney's Nine Old Men: Milt KahlFrank ThomasOllie JohnstonLes ClarkJohn LounsberyMarc DavisWard KimballEric LarsonWolfgang Reitherman

Animators: Bill TytlaArt BabbittPreston BlairFred MooreShamus CulhaneCy YoungDon LuskNorman FergusonHal KingJack HannahJack KinneyHal AmbroKen O'BrienJudge WhitakerBill JusticeDon BluthGary GoldmanCharles A. NicholsBlaine GibsonJohn KennedyJohn EwingWalt StanchfieldFred HellmichAndy PaliwodaWilfred JacksonXavier Atencio
Visual Development, Layout, Background Artists and Character Designers: Gustaf TenggrenMary BlairJoe GrantMel ShawClaude CoatsDon DaGradiJohn HenchEyvind EarleKen O'ConnorThor PutnamAlbert HurterJohn Hubley
Storyboard Artists and Writers: Bill PeetRalph WrightDick HuemerFloyd NormanYale Gracey
Directors: Clyde GeronimiHamilton LuskeJack KinneyTed BermanRichard RichLeo MatsudaNathan GrenoGeorge Scribner
Producers: Walt DisneyRon MillerKen Anderson

In the Renaissance, the Present and the Revival
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 Katzenberg
Signature Voice Actors: Jim CummingsAlan TudykKatie LowesJohn DiMaggioMaurice LaMarcheJodi BensonDavid Ogden StiersJesse CortiPaul BriggsRaymond S. PersiPhil JohnstonFrank WelkerBill FarmerBrian Cummings
Signature Musicians: Sherman Brothers Robert B. Sherman Richard Sherman Alan Menken Kristen Anderson-Lopez Robert LopezLin-Manuel MirandaHoward AshmanTim RiceStephen SchwartzMarc Shaiman
Supervising Animators: Glen KeaneAndreas DejaAlex KupershmidtEric GoldbergMark HennJohn PomeroyT. Daniel HofstedtTony BancroftTom BancroftTony FucileRuss EdmondsDuncan MarjoribanksRuben AquinoNik RanieriRon HusbandRick FarmiloeTom SitoTony Anselmo
Visual Development & Storyboard Artists: Dean DeBloisLisa KeeneClaire KeaneBrittney LeeJin KimShiyoon KimCory Loftis

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.

Fandom may earn an affiliate commission on sales made from links on this page.

Stream the best stories.

Fandom may earn an affiliate commission on sales made from links on this page.

Get Disney+