Milton Erwin Kahl (March 22, 1909, in San Francisco, California, USA – April 19, 1987, in Mill Valley, California, USA, of Pneumonia) was an animator for the Disney studio, and one of Disney's Nine Old Men.
Kahl is often considered the finest draughtsman of the Disney animators. He would often refine the characters sketches from Bill Peet with the ideas of Ken Anderson. For many years the final look for the characters in the Disney films were designed by Kahl, in his angular style inspired by Ronald Searle and Picasso. He is revered by contemporary masters of the form, such as Andreas Deja, and Brad Bird, who was his protégé at Disney in the early 70's. In the behind-the-scenes feature "Fine Food and Film" shown on the Ratatouille DVD, Bird referred to Kahl as "tough", but in a gentle way, as he often gave Bird advice on where he could improve in animation whenever he came up short.
In the book The Animator's Survival Kit, the author Richard Williams makes repeated reference and anecdotes relating to Kahl. The centenary of Kahl's birth was honoured by the Academy on April 27, 2009, with a tribute entitled "Milt Kahl: The Animation Michelangelo" and featured Brad Bird as a panelist.
Characters animated by Kahl
- Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: The Forest Animals, The Prince
- Pinocchio: Pinocchio, some scenes of Jiminy Cricket
- Bambi: Adult Bambi, Adult Thumper
- Saludos Amigos: Donald rides a Llama sequence
- Song of the South: Br'er Rabbit, Br'er Bear, and Br'er Fox (The Tar Baby sequence)
- Melody Time: Johnny Appleseed, Johnny's Guardian Angel, Pecos Bill, Slue Foot Sue
- The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad: MacBadger, Brom Bones
- Cinderella: Fairy Godmother, Prince Charming, The King, The Grand Duke
- Alice in Wonderland: Alice, The Dodo, Flamingo
- Peter Pan: Peter Pan, Wendy Darling, John Darling, Michael Darling, Mr. Darling
- Lady and the Tramp: Tramp, Lady
- Sleeping Beauty: Prince Philip, King Hubert (his scene with Philip)
- One Hundred and One Dalmatians: Roger and Anita, Pongo (scenes with Roger)
- Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color: Ludwig Von Drake
- The Sword in the Stone: Wart (a.k.a King Arthur), Merlin, Sir Ector, Kay, Archimedes, Madame Mim
- The Jungle Book: Shere Khan, King Louie, Kaa
- The Aristocats: Thomas O'Malley, Edgar, George
- Robin Hood: Robin Hood, The Sheriff of Nottingham, Little John, Allan-a-Dale (the rooster)
- The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh: Tigger
- The Rescuers: Madame Medusa, Mr. Snoops, Penny, Brutus and Nero
Note: At the time these films were produced, it was common for one animator to animate every character in the shot.
- Milt Kahl at the Internet Movie Database
- Disney Legends
- "King Kahl: A personal look at Disney's master animator, Milt Kahl" by Floyd Norman (JimHillMedia.com)
- A Milt Kahl lecture at CalArts from 1976 on The Animation Podcast
- Interview with Kahl by Michael Barrier and Milton Gray