Michael Richard "Mike" Gabriel is an American animator, director, and storyboard artist, best known for his work at Walt Disney Animation Studios and as co-director of the Disney films: The Rescuers Down Under (1990) and Pocahontas (1995). He was born in Long Beach, CA although he grew up in various small towns like Salina, Kansas while moving around due to his father's Air Force job.

Gabriel was very inspired with animation after watching Sleeping Beauty (1959) at the age of five. Soon after, he started drawing and practicing it for six hours every day to meet his goal as an Animation Director. It was in 1979 when he got his first chance to make his debut. Gabriel studied in the Character Animation program at the California Institute of the Arts. He originally began his career helping animate on The Fox and the Hound (1981) and later went on to animate on the 1982 animated short, Fun with Mr. Future. He was mentored under Eric Larson's training program, and went on to work on the The Black Cauldron (1985). He also served as an animator on The Great Mouse Detective (1986) and Oliver and Company (1988). Hendel Butoy joined Gabriel to direct The Rescuers Down Under, a sequel to the successful 1977 Disney film, The Rescuers, while Eric Goldberg and Gabriel collaborated on Pocahontas. Goldberg and Gabriel later reunited with each other in Wreck-It Ralph to work on animating Sour Bill.

In 2004, Gabriel directed an animated short for Disney entitled Lorenzo, a hybrid of traditional and computer animation about a lazy cat who has a spell cast on his tail that forces it to tango with him. Lorenzo was nominated for the 2005 Academy Award for Best Animated Short. It was also included in the Animation Show of Shows in 2004.

Gabriel conceived, storyboarded, did all development pieces, directed, and art directed the opening Walt Disney Pictures logo castle sequence that has opened Disney movies since 2006. [1]


Year Film Position
1981 The Fox and the Hound Animator (Uncredited)
1982 Fun with Mr. Future Animator
1985 The Black Cauldron Character Animator
1986 The Great Mouse Detective Character Animator: Felicia
1988 Oliver & Company Story
Character Designer
Supervising Animator
1990 The Rescuers Down Under Director
1995 Pocahontas Director
Based on an Idea by
Visual Development
1998 Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World Characters (Uncredited)
1999 Fantasia 2000 Yo-yo Tricks
2004 The Cat That Looked at a King Character Designer
2004 Lorenzo Director
Production Designer
2008 Bolt Additional Story Artist
2009 The Princess and the Frog Additional Art Director
2011 Winnie the Pooh Visual Development Artist
2012 Brave Development Artist
2012 Wreck-It Ralph Production Designer
2012 Frankenweenie Art Department Illustrator: Los Angeles
2014 Big Hero 6 Departmental Leadership: Walt Disney Animation Studios
2016 Zootopia Departmental Leadership: Walt Disney Animation Studios

External links


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