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William Harry Dennis Cottrell was an American writer for Walt Disney Animation Studios and a driving force behind Disneyland's creation.

Cottrell was born in 1906 to English parents in South Bend, Indiana and graduated from Occidental College in Los Angeles, California, where he studied English and journalism. After working for a time on George Herriman’s "Krazy Kat" comic strip, he was offered a job working cameras at Disney Studios in 1929. He soon moved into the Story department and contributed ideas for shorts, including Who Killed Cock Robin?, Peculiar Penguins, and Water Babies.

He went on to direct the Wicked Witch and Evil Queen sequences in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and contributed to story on Pinocchio. In 1938, he married Lillian Disney’s sister, Hazel Sewell. In 1941, Bill and Hazel joined Walt Disney and a small group of artists on a goodwill tour of South America on behalf of the United States Government, which inspired Saludos Amigos and The Three Caballeros.

During the 1950s, he carried his interest in story over to WED Enterprises (now Walt Disney Imagineering), where he served as its first president and helped develop storylines and dialog for such Disneyland attractions as Snow White's Adventures. Keen on nomenclature, he encouraged others quit using the term 'ride' and to refer to attractions as an 'experience'.

He also helped develop the popular Zorro television series and, in 1964, was named president of Retlaw Enterprises, the Walt Disney family corporation. He held that position until 1982, when he retired after 53 years of service.

A lifelong fan of Sherlock Holmes, Bill’s idea for a movie about an animal detective inspired the 1986 animated feature The Great Mouse Detective.

In 1994, Cottrell was honored as a Disney Legend. He passed away on December 22, 1995, in Los Angeles.

Disney Filmography

Year Film Position
1929 Wild Waves cinematographer - uncredited
1934 The China Shop story - uncredited
1934 The Grasshopper and the Ants story - uncredited
1934 Camping Out story - uncredited
1934 The Flying Mouse story - uncredited
1934 Peculiar Penguins story - uncredited
1934 The Goddess of Spring story - uncredited
1935 The Robber Kitten story - uncredited
1935 Water Babies story - uncredited
1935 Who Killed Cock Robin? story - uncredited
1935 Pluto's Judgement Day story - uncredited
1935 Three Orphan Kittens story - uncredited
1936 Three Little Wolves writer - uncredited
1936 Thru the Mirror story - uncredited
1936 Toby Tortoise Returns story - uncredited
1936 More Kittens writer
1937 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs sequence director
1938 Wynken, Blynken and Nod writer - uncredited
1940 Pinocchio story adaptation
1941 The Reluctant Dragon screenplay
1942 South of the Border with Disney Himself
1942 Saludos Amigos story research
writer: "Aquarela do Brasil"
1943 Victory Through Air Power story adaptation
1944 The Three Caballeros story
1947 Fun and Fancy Free story - uncredited: "Mickey and the Beanstalk"
1948 Melody Time story: "Little Toot"
1951 Alice in Wonderland story
1952 The Little House story adaptation
1953 Peter Pan story
1957 Zorro series developer
1957 The Magical World of Disney story: "Adventures in Fantasy"
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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 IsingHugh HarmanFriz FrelengWalt KellyLeo SalkinJohn Dehner
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 EllenshawRuthie TompsonEarl Duvall
Storyboard Artists and Writers: Bill PeetRalph WrightDick HuemerFloyd NormanYale GraceyTed SearsErdman PennerJoe RinaldiWinston HiblerOtto EnglanderWilliam CottrellBill BergAl BertinoT. HeeHomer BrightmanTed OsbourneLarry ClemmonsHarry ReevesJesse Marsh
Directors: Clyde GeronimiHamilton LuskeJack KinneyTed BermanRichard RichNathan GrenoGeorge ScribnerRiley ThomsonDick LundyJack KingBurt Gillett
Producers: Walt DisneyRon MillerKen AndersonDon DuckwallPerce PearceMargaret J. Winkler

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: Robert B. Sherman Richard M. Sherman Alan Menken Kristen Anderson-Lopez Robert LopezLin-Manuel MirandaHoward AshmanTim RicePhil CollinsStephen SchwartzMarc ShaimanDanny Troob
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