Maurice Noble was an American animation production designer, animation background artist, and layout designer, whose contributions to the industry spanned more than 60 years. Noble was best known for being a long-time associate and partner of animation director Chuck Jones, most notably at Warner Bros. starting in 1952. He contributed to such cartoon classics as Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century, What's Opera, Doc?, and the Road Runner series.
A Disney scout recruited him about 1934, and he decided to accept the job since it paid $10 per month more than the department store did. Noble was put to work on backgrounds for the Silly Symphonies cartoon series. At that time the Disney backgrounds were required to be done in the transparent watercolor wash, which was technically difficult because correcting a mistake was usually impossible, requiring a full new attempt.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was the first feature-length film Noble worked on. This was followed by background work on other Disney features, notably the Rite of Spring sequence in Fantasia. Noble also did story development for the Dance of the Hours in that film. For Dumbo, he did color coordination and character design, including work on the pink elephant sequence.
Noble joined the Disney animators' strike in 1941; it lasted five weeks and became bitter. When he returned after the strike was settled, his office was moved to an ex-broomcloset and he was left without assignments. Soon he was laid off and his career at Disney during the Golden Age of American Animation was at an end.
Noble continued to be active in a variety of animation projects, including consultation with Disney artists for their first watercolor backgrounds in half a century (for Lilo & Stitch). Noble died in 2001 at his home in La Crescenta, California, aged 90, 17 days after his 90th birthday.
- Elmer Elephant (1936) (background artist)
- Mother Pluto (1936) (background artist)
- The Old Mill (1937) (background artist) - Oscar nominee
- Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) (background artist)
- Pinocchio (1940) (development)
- Fantasia (1940) (development)
- Dumbo (1941) (character designs)
- Bambi (1942) (development)
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