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2012 John Musker
John Musker is – along with Ron Clements – half of the best-known and most successful partnership in Disney animation since Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston.
John was born in Chicago, Illinois, the oldest of eight children in an Irish Catholic family. He first met Ron during the production of The Fox and the Hound, on which he worked as a character animator under Clements and Cliff Nordberg. He worked with Ron again on The Black Cauldron. In 1986, he made his directorial debut with Ron and two other collaborators (Burny Mattinson and Dave Michener) on the feature, The Great Mouse Detective.
The duo’s next project was The Little Mermaid. They co-wrote the film (with additional dialogue by Howard Ashman and others) and co-directed it. With a score by Broadway veterans Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, the film was a huge success and is widely recognized as launching the second Golden Age of Disney animation. They followed The Little Mermaid with Aladdin (which was an even greater box office success) and then Hercules.
They changed direction for their next collaboration, the sci-fi adventure Treasure Planet. Inspired by the Robert Louis Stevenson classic Treasure Island, the film is one of the few Disney animated films that is not a musical. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.
Their most recent collaboration is The Princess and the Frog, a deliberate evocation of the classic Disney features of the past and Disney’s return to hand-drawn animation.