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2012 Ron Clements
Ron Clements is – along with John Musker – half of the best-known and most successful partnership in Disney animation since Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston.
Ron started his animation career at Hanna Barbera, but after a few months there he was accepted into Disney’s Talent Development Program. After completing the program, Ron spent two years as an apprentice to Frank Thomas and worked with him on The Rescuers. Ron also worked as an animator on Pete’s Dragon and then was supervising animator on The Fox and the Hound, and met John during work on that project. He worked with John again on The Black Cauldron. In 1986 he made his directorial debut with John and two other collaborators (Burny Mattinson and Dave Michener) on 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.