The Animation Educators Hall of Fame
The artists, and scholars who influenced and inspired the history of animation through their teaching
“In posing, go as far as you dare go, then go twice as far, and you’ll see you’re only halfway there.”
– Art Babbitt
Inducted in 2023
(1933-2019) Animator/Director. Williams has been called the greatest student of the character animators of Hollywood’s Golden Age, whose credits include Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988) and the unfinished The Thief and the Cobbler (1993). The Canadian born artist initially rose very quickly to the top of the 60’s London commercial world. He used this success to bring in legendary Hollywood animators—Art Babbitt, Grim Natwick and Ken Harris—to teach his artists the almost forgotten techniques of classical animation. The fruits of his efforts created the blossoming of animation scene in England, which helped spark the Hollywood Renaissance of the 1990s. He wrote best-selling books on technique and gave master classes around the world until his death.
John Whitney Sr.
(1917-1995) Animator, Filmmaker, Inventor, Composer—Often hailed as the father of computer animation, John and his brother James pioneered non- narrative filmmaking in the 1930s using mechanical techniques. This culminated in his building an analog computer to create the title sequence for Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo (1958). He later became IBM’s first computer artist in residence, taught the first computer graphics class at UCLA in 1972, and lectured around the world about the coming digital age with a missionary zeal. Many of his trainees and interns went on to become important figures in CGI, including Bob Abel.
(1915-1984) Animator — Ben was a main animator for Chuck Jones since 1938 at both Warner Bros. and MGM. He also worked at UPA and Hanna- Barbera. Ben taught informal instructions at no charge out of his home garage from 1967-1980, where he taught many top artists of the Animation Renaissance of the 1990s.
(1932-2016) Animator, Director, Educator, Scholar — Dan began in experimental animation with such films as God is Dog Spelled Backward (1967), animated for Sesame Street, and the titles to Where’s Poppa? (1970), In 1970, he became head of the University of California, Los Angeles Animation Workshop until his retirement in 2011. In 1971, Dan established the school’s M.F.A. Animation Program and pioneered the introduction of computer and interactive animation courses. His international travels included designing a national animation studio for the Nigerian government. In 1995 Dan was given ASIFA-Hollywood’s Winsor McCay Award.
Bessie Mae Kelley
Animator/Director—Bess started in animation in 1917, working at the major New York studios (Bray, Inkwell, Fables, etc.) and multiple regional studios. She was the first industry professional to bring the field of animation to the masses via the Chautauqua lecture and Lyceum vaudeville circuits. For several years, Bess traveled across the country with her easel and charcoals to demonstrate and educate the public on “How Animated Cartoons Are Made.”
(1934-2015) Journalist/Historian. Former media arts editor at Newsweek, John wrote extensively about Disney animation, including books on the making of Fantasia, Aladdin and Fantasia 2000, as well as Special Effects in the Movies. He was the model for the characters Mr. Snoops in The Rescuers and Flying John in Fantasia 2000. For over four decades he pioneered the teaching of animation history at the School of Visual Arts, Mercy College, New York University and Fashion Institute of Technology.
Cornelius (Corny) Cole
(1930-2011) Animator/Designer. Corny began on Disney’s Lady and the Tramp and animated on Ward Kimball’s Disneyland TV unit, later for UPA on Gay Puree (1962) and Richard Williams’ Adventures of Raggedy Ann and Andy (1977) He taught animation as art and figure drawing at the California Institute of the Arts from 1992 until his retirement. He also trained students in figure drawing at Art Center College of Design and the University of Southern California..
(1914-1991) Director/Producer/Designer--Joy started in animation in 1934 and met John Halas three years later when he hired her at British Colour Cartoon Films. In 1940, they married and formed Halas and Batchelor Cartoon Films, one of Britain’s most storied studios. The two co-directed its most famous film, Animal Farm (1954), which she is also credited as scriptwriter, producer and designer. Her other credits include directing a TV version of Gilbert & Sullivan’s Ruddigore (1967). After retiring from filmmaking in 1974, she focused on teaching animation at the London Film School, whose students elected her to its Board of Governors, where she served ntil her death.
(1941-2004)—Animation Historian, Filmmaker, Writer, Educator—Bill was best known for his writings on visual music and experimental animation, especially on Oskar Fischinger, including the book Optical Poetry: The Life and Work of Oskar Fischinger (2004). He was also a poet and playwright, as well as an experimental filmmaker. He began teaching in 1965 at Occidental College and then at Otis Art Institute, Pitzer College, UCLA, USC, and the American University Center in Calcutta, India, before settling in at CalArts in 1987, He also was president of the Society for Animation Studies
(1932-2022) Animator--Bill worked at Disney on Sleeping Beauty (1959) and on the Mickey Mouse Club. He also worked for the Jet Propulsion Lab creating instructional films. He taught animation at Sheridan College, California State University Northridge, Van Film Arts and Woodbury University. During the 1980s and 90s he ran Disney Feature Animation’s recruiting and training division.
Inducted in 2022
(1907-1992) Animator — Art began at Terrytoons before becoming one of Walt Disney’s top animators, where he became an early champion of animation unions. He helped jump start Disney’s in-house training program, taught at USC in 1957, and the Animation Guild. Art later lectured the Richard Williams London team in 1973. For many years Williams’ notes of his lectures were considered essential reading for animators.
(1946-2021) Animation Historian/Teacher- He is best known for writing Cartoons − 100 Years of Cinema Animation, which became a standard textbook in the field. He later edited the 3 volume Animation: A World History. Giannalberto taught animation history at the Università degli Studi di Milano (2002-09) and the Nanyang Technological University of Singapore (2013-15), as well as being an adjunct professor at Griffith University in Australia.
(1929-1969) Animator- Frank was the first black animator to break the color barrier at both Walt Disney, and later Warner Bros. He also worked for MGM and John Hubley, and was a President of the Screen Cartoonists Guild. In the late 50s, Frank Braxton, began an animation program near Watts for minority high school students.
Therese “Tissa” David
(1921-2012) Hungarian-American animator, who was one of the pioneering women in animation. Described as “New York ’s Master Animator”, Tissa worked extensively on commercials and projects for Jean Image, John Hubley, Richard Williams, and Michael Sporn. Wherever she worked she conducted masterclasses for young animators. She also guest lectured at NYU Tisch School of the Arts and the School of Visual Arts.
(1909-2003) Jules spent decades in the animation industry (Disney, UPA, Format Films, etc.), variously working as a color stylist, background artist, producer and director, before joining CalArts in 1969. He was Founding Director of its Animation Program and Experimental Animation Department, mentoring many notable animation artists. He also made a number of personal films and documentaries and won the Winsor McCay and Norman McLaren Heritage Awards.
(1924-1998) Computer Graphics teacher. With his colleague Ivan Sutherland Dave conceived and built the computer graphics program at the University of Utah, one of the earliest in the world. Their program produced many breakthroughs and trained many of the principal figures in the Digital Revolution that transformed motion pictures and interactive games in the 1990s.
Donald W. "Don" Graham
Drawing Teacher — Starting teaching at Chouinard Art Institute, Don was brought on by Walt Disney to improve the drawing skills of his animators and organize a training curriculum. Many of them credit Don with changing their approach to drawing and in so doing changing the direction of American animation. After 1941 He continued to teach at Chouinard, as well as Ray Patin Studio until his retirement in 1970.
(1924-2015) Jim began in England at J. Arthur Rank, and moved to Canada after the war. He worked for the National Film Board and several live action production companies. He was among the first group of animation instructors at Sheridan College’s new animation program in the early 1970's. Until his retirement in 1988 he trained a generation of Canada’s top animation talent. Artists who would not only be major players in their own domestic industry, but who would fan out across the world and contribute to productions from Berlin to Bristol. Brisbane to Beijing.
Graphic design teacher. When we asked CalArts grads of the 70s, “Of all your teachers, if you had to name one who was paramount to your education, who was it?” The overwhelming response was Bill Moore. Moore began at Chouinard, then moved to Cal Arts to teach the fledgling animation program. Many credited him with not just learning technique, but critical thinking.
(1909-2000). In 1941, Les left his job as a Disney layout artist to start Graphic Films, which became known for its large format films and its work on the visual effects for 2001: A Space Odyssey. In 1942, at USC he established its first animation class: “Principles and Mechanics of Animation.” He later developed his “Filmic Expression” class, which inspired several generations of live-action and animation filmmakers