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Leo Salkin was a Canadian animator and writer, who worked at Disney Studios. His primary contribution was animating the Siamese Cat sequence in Lady and the Tramp.

Born on February 1, 1913 in Montreal, Canada; Salkin started his career at age 19, after graduating from Hollywood High School, at Walter Lantz Productions on March 3, 1932. Hired as a cel washer at $17.50 a week, he also helped out with camera work, learned ink and paint on the job, while studying “inbetweening on my own time”, and how to be a gag writer. After working on Oswald the Lucky Rabbit shorts, Krazy Kat, and Scrappy cartoons for Charles Mintz, he began a brief stint at Disney until after the 1941 strike, when he walked the picket line, at which time he was earning $60.00 a week. He left Disney for Columbia Screen Gems during Frank Tashlin’s brief but fabled reign and did a short stint at MGM animating under Tex Avery. These cartoons had the talents of Bill Thompson and Billy Bletcher.

After serving in the Navy during World War II, he went to New York to work for ventriloquist Paul Winchell in the early days of live TV. In 1948 he was hired as a writer by Jerry Fairbanks Productions, a well-established producer of live-action theatrical shorts that was segueing into TV before returning to Disney.

Later, Salkin joined UPA where, during this time, he contributed to The Gerald McBoing-Boing Show, Mr. Magoo’s 1001 Arabian Nights, co-writing the Emmy-winning The Alphabet Conspiracy, The Alvin Show, The Funny Company, Omnibus, and The Addams Family.

In 1958 Salkin published a book, Story-Telling Home Movies: How to Make Them, In the 1970s, he formed his own studio, Leo Salkin Films, where he directed, produced, and animated the Emmy-nominated half-hour CBS TV special, The 2000 Year Old Man, with Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner as well plenty of commercials such, as Sunkist Oranges, and he was given a Winsor McCay Award by ASIFA-Hollywood for lifetime achievement in 1983. He also served as a former president of the Hollywood chapter of the International Animated Film Society.

Salkin died on October 13, 1993, at St. Joseph's Hospital in Burbank, California. He was 80 years old and lived in Hollywood. He was cremated and survived by his wife, Jeri, of Hollywood; a brother, William, of Beverly Hills, and a granddaughter.

Disney Filmography

Year Film Position
1939 Society Dog Show Animator - uncredited
1948 Mickey Down Under Animator - uncredited
1951 Cold Turkey Story
1952 Pluto's Party Story
1954 Pigs Is Pigs Story
1955 Lady and the Tramp Animator



  • It has been long believed he was the inspiration for Mr. Magoo due to the squints in his eyes, however, Salkin confirmed that Magoo had been created long before he joined the UPA staff.
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