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Arthur Kendall "Ken" O'Connor was an Australian Disney layout artist and art director. He was genius, while his gentle, self-deprecating nature and wry sense of humor made him a joy to work with. As Director T. Hee once recalled, "Ken was a charmer. Being from Australia, he'd make some crazy crack that only an Aussie can do."

"He was a bright, clever man and a man who enjoyed life. He never got upset about things, but just brushed them aside and kept ongoing. That made it nice for us to work together."

Fellow Disney Legend Ward Kimball, who worked with Ken on many projects, including futuristic films for Disney television shows, added, "Ken arrived at some very interesting solutions... I'd ask him for some quick sketches of, say, how an underwater restaurant would look, and he would come up with some wild ideas."

Born in Perth, Australia, on June 7, 1908, Ken studied commercial art at Melbourne Technical College and fine art at the Australian National Gallery in Melbourne. In 1930, he emigrated with his family to the United States, settling in San Francisco, where he continued his education at the California School of Art.

In 1935, he joined The Walt Disney Studios, where he worked as either art director or layout man on 13 features and nearly 100 shorts. Among the most memorable images, Ken created for the screen are the magical coach in "Cinderella", the marching cards in "Alice in Wonderland", and the dancing hippos in "Fantasia". His other credits include, "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs", "Pinocchio", "Dumbo", "Make Mine Music", "Melody Time", "Peter Pan", "Lady and the Tramp", and more.

During World War II, Ken worked on training and educational films that Disney produced for the U.S. government, including "Food Will Win the War", along with theatrical cartoons, such as "Education for Death". Later, he provided layouts for the first 3-D cartoon "Adventures in Music: Melody". He also served as art director on three space factuals: "Man in Space", "Man and the Moon", and "Mars and Beyond", as well as the first CinemaScope cartoon "Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom", which won an Academy Award in 1953.

After more than 30 years with the company, Ken retired in 1978. He continued to lend his imagination and artistry, however, to such projects as the Universe of Energy at EPCOT Center and the "Back to Never Land" introduction to animation film, featured in the Animation Building at Disney-MGM Studios in Florida. Ken also taught layout and art direction at the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), which Walt Disney helped find.

Ken O'Connor died May 27, 1998, in Burbank, California. He was inducted as a Disney Legend in 1992.


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1920’s—1970’s
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 Ising
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 Ellenshaw
Storyboard Artists and Writers: Bill PeetRalph WrightDick HuemerFloyd NormanYale GraceyTed SearsErdman PennerJoe RinaldiWinston HiblerOtto EnglanderWilliam CottrellBill BergAl BertinoT. HeeHomer BrightmanTed OsbourneLarry ClemmonsHarry Reeves
Directors: Clyde GeronimiHamilton LuskeJack KinneyTed BermanRichard RichNathan GrenoGeorge ScribnerRiley Thomson
Producers: Walt DisneyRon MillerKen AndersonDon DuckwallPerce Pearce

1980’s—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: Sherman Brothers Robert B. Sherman Richard Sherman Alan Menken Kristen Anderson-Lopez Robert LopezLin-Manuel MirandaHoward AshmanTim RicePhil CollinsGlenn SlaterStephen SchwartzMarc Shaiman
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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