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Veteran Animator Glen Keane to Leave Walt Disney Animation Studios

24 March 2012 No Comment

What do such legendary Disney characters as Ariel, the Beast, Pocahontas, Aladdin, and Tarzan have in common? They were all brought to life by Disney animator Glen Keane. For the past 38 years, Glen Keane has become one of the most prolific and talented animators at Walt Disney Animation Studios, creating many of the famous Disney characters that have gone on to become cultural icons. However, this week, Keane announced that after 38 years with the company, he will be leaving Disney to pursue new projects.

In an internal letter to his co-workers breaking the news of his departure, Keane said that he had reached this decision to leave his “artistic home” only “after long and thoughtful consideration.” He writes:

I am convinced that animation really is the ultimate art form of our time with endless new territories to explore. I can’t resist it’s siren call to step out and discover them. (…) I am humbled and deeply honored to have worked side by side so many artists, producers and directors during my career here at Disney, and I am tremendously proud of the films which together we have created. I will deeply miss working with you.

The full text of the letter can be found here. A Disney spokesperson confirmed Keane’s departure, saying:

“After an incredible 38-year career as an animator, storyteller, and filmmaking pioneer with Walt Disney Animation Studios, Glen Keane has decided that the time has come to take the next step in his personal exploration of the art of animation.  As much as we are saddened by his departure, we respect his desires and wish him the very best with all his future endeavors.”

Most recently, Keane served as animation supervisor and directing animator for the character of Rapunzel in the 2010 film Tangled. With his numerous contributions to many of the most iconic characters and films in Disney history, it is safe to say that the past few decades of Disney animated films would have been extremely different were it not for Keane’s talents and creativity, and we can’t wait to see what the future has in store for this talented and legendary animator.


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