The last of Disney’s Nine Old Men has sadly passed away. Ollie Johnston was a directing animator at Disney from 1935-1978 and worked on such great films as Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs, Fantasia, Bambi and Pinocchio. Ollie also co-authored the very popular book, The Illusion of Life with his long-time friend, Frank Thomas (who passed away in 2004).
Ollie’s lifelong hobby was steam trains. He built and aquired many in his life including a full-size narrow-gauge Porter steam locomotive, which he named the "Marie E." This was eventually sold to John Lasseter and is fully operational.
On November 10, 2005, Ollie was awarded the prestigious National Medal of Arts, presented by President George W. Bush in an Oval Office ceremony.
Ollie was a big influence to many, many artists in the animation industry, including John Lasseter and Brad Bird. Brad Bird gave Frank and Ollie a cameo appearance in The Iron Giant
and The Incredibles
. The two can be remembered in the film for the lines:
Frank Thomas: Ya see that? That’s the way to do it. That’s old school.
Ollie Johnston: Yeah. No school like the old school.
RIP Ollie. You will be sorely missed.