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2012 Glen Keane
Animator Glen Keane, among the giants of Disney’s second golden age of animation, is the son of cartoonist Bil Keane, creator of the The Family Circus (Glen's younger self is represented in his father's comic strip as the character Billy) and Glen’s interest in art developed as a child by observing his father's work. After high school, Glen applied to the California Institute of the Arts, opting out of a football scholarship from another college.
Glen left CalArts in 1974 and joined Disney the same year. For three years, he worked along side the legendary Ollie Johnston animating the characters of Bernard and Penny in The Rescuers. After The Rescuers was completed, Keane went on to animate Elliott the Dragon in Pete's Dragon. Keane also animated the climactic bear fight in The Fox and the Hound.
After that, Glen animated Willie the Giant in the featurette Mickey’s Christmas Carol, worked on the animation of Gurgi and Eilonwy in The Black Cauldron and served as supervising animator of Professor Ratigan in The Great Mouse Detective. Through his work on Fagin, Sykes and Georgette in Oliver & Company, Glen rose to lead character animator, becoming one of the group sometimes referred to as the Nine New Men. In this post, he was responsible for animating some of Disney's most memorable characters. He designed and animated Ariel in the 1989 film The Little Mermaid, followed by the eagle Marahute in The Rescuers Down Under. Subsequently, Keane worked as the supervising animator on three landmark features: He was responsible for the title characters in Aladdin and Pocahontas, and for Beast in Beauty and the Beast.
While living with his family in Paris for three years, Keane completed work on Tarzan, for which he drew the title character. Keane then returned to Disney's Burbank studio as the lead animator of Long John Silver in Treasure Planet and to animate Ariel’s appearance in the Mickey’s PhilharMagic attraction. Most recently, Glen was the executive producer and an animating director of Tangled.
At the 2007 Annie Awards, Glen received the Winsor McKay Award for lifetime contribution to the art of animation. He retired from Disney earlier this year, noting at the time: “I am convinced that animation really is the ultimate form of our time with endless new territories to explore. I can’t resist its siren call to step out and discover them.”