Artist Tyrus Wong, Who Created the Visual Style of Disney’s Bambi, Dies at 106

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Artist and Disney animator Tyrus Wong, whose paintings inspired the look of Disney’s 1942 animated classic Bambi, has died at 106. “With heavy hearts, we announce the passing of Tyrus Wong. Tyrus died peacefully at his home surrounded by his loving daughters Kim, Kay and Tai-Ling,” the Facebook page for Tyrus, a 2015 documentary about the artist’s life, announced yesterday. “With his passing, we have lost a brilliant artist, motion picture & animation legend, Chinese American pioneer, and hero.” The documentary, directed by Pamela Tom, traces Wong’s personal and creative life from his birth in Taishan, China, in 1910 to his work for Hallmark, Disney, and later Warner Bros. on films such as The Sands of Iwo Jima, Rebel Without a Cause, and The Wild Bunch. Besides making concept and story art for film, Wong was also a fine artist who worked with ceramics, murals, lithography, and kite-making. While employed at Disney from 1938 to 1941, the artist created preproduction inspirational art for Bambi that subsequently formed the basis for the film’s visual style. In 2001, Wong was officially named a Disney Legend.

Disney’s Bambi Artist Tyrus Wong Dies at 106