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Richard Williams was a Canadian-born animator, who worked from his studio in London, England. He won an Academy Award for his version of A Christmas Carol for ABC, which was done with Chuck Jones. He directed the animation of the 1988 live-action/animated film Who Framed Roger Rabbit, as well as voicing Droopy in the movie.

He was also offered the chance to direct Beauty and the Beast after Jim Cox left, but Williams turned down the offer so that he could work on The Thief and the Cobbler, an independent animated film that he spent decades working on. The Thief and the Cobbler, unfinished to this day, helped provide visual inspiration for Disney's Aladdin. The rights of the film were later taken over by Miramax Films (who clumsily completed The Thief with inferior animations entirely unlike what Williams intended, and released the resulting picture under the title Arabian Knight), which was itself bought by Disney, making The Thief and the Cobbler a Disney movie in a very roundabout way.

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