Andreas Deja

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Andreas Deja
Andres deja.jpg
At the 35th Annie Awards in 2006
Born (1957-04-01) 1 April 1957 (age 59)
Gdańsk, Poland
Occupation Animator
Years active 1980–present

Andreas Deja (born 1 April 1957) is a Polish-born German-American character animator, most noted for his work at Walt Disney Animation Studios. Deja's work includes serving as supervising animator on characters in several Disney animated films, including the Disney villains Gaston in Beauty and the Beast, Jafar in Aladdin, Scar in The Lion King and the hero in Hercules.

Early life[edit]

Deja was born 1957 in Gdańsk, Poland, but moved with his family to Dinslaken, Germany, in 1958. He credits seeing Disney's The Jungle Book as an 11-year-old with inspiring him to become an animator.[1] After graduating from Theodor-Heuss Gymnasium (secondary school), he studied graphic design at the Folkwang Hochschule in Essen, Germany.


Deja in 2012 at a Masterclass workshop at the Studio Technique in Montreal

A lifelong fan of Disney animated films, Deja was hired by the studio in 1980 after he had corresponded with Eric Larson, one of Disney's senior Nine Old Men of animation who ran the studio's training department.[2] The first film on which he worked for was The Black Cauldron, during which time he shared a cubicle with future film director Tim Burton.

During his rookie days at Disney, Deja sought mentorship and practical advice from seven of the then-living Nine Old Men, who were already retired before his tenure.[3] Deja has collected information on the Nine Old Men over the years, and has stated that one of his ambitions is to publish one book for each of the Nine Old Men.[4]

Deja is best known as the supervising animator of some of the most memorable Disney villains: Gaston in Beauty and the Beast, Jafar in Aladdin, Scar in The Lion King and Queen Narissa in Enchanted. He also animated Roger Rabbit in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, King Triton in The Little Mermaid, the title character in Hercules, Lilo Pelekai in Lilo & Stitch, Mama Odie in The Princess and the Frog and Tigger in Winnie the Pooh. In addition, he is the current resident specialist for the animation of Mickey Mouse.

In 2006, at the 35th Annie Awards, Deja was awarded the Winsor McCay Award for outstanding contribution to the art of animation.[5] In 2011, he began a blog where he shares some of his collection of the work of the early Disney animators.[6]

He is currently working on the animated film Mushka with a planned release for 2017.[7]

Personal life[edit]

Deja is openly gay.[8] His sexuality has been discussed as an influence on the development of some Disney characters.[9][10][11][12]


Year Title Credits Characters
1985 The Black Cauldron Supervising Animator / Character Designer Dallben, Horned King and Fair Folk
1986 The Great Mouse Detective Character Animator Queen Mousetoria
1988 Who Framed Roger Rabbit Supervising Animator Roger Rabbit
Oliver & Company Character Designer
1989 The Little Mermaid Character Designer / Directing Animator / Supervising Animator King Triton
1990 The Prince and the Pauper (Short) Supervising Animator Mickey Mouse & The Prince
1991 Beauty and the Beast Gaston
1992 Aladdin Jafar
1994 The Lion King Scar
1995 Runaway Brain (Short) Mickey Mouse
1997 Hercules Adult Hercules
2000 Fantasia 2000 Animator - Segment "Rhapsody in Blue" / Character Animator: Host Sequences Mickey Mouse
The Emperor's New Groove Additional Visual Development
2002 Lilo & Stitch Supervising Animator Lilo Pelekai
2004 Home on the Range Animator Alameda Slim and Junior
Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas (Video) Animation Consultant
2006 Bambi II (Video)
2007 Enchanted Animator Queen Narissa
How to Hook Up Your Home Theater (Short) Goofy
2009 The Princess and the Frog Supervising Animator Mama Odie and Juju
2011 The Ballad of Nessie (Short)
Winnie the Pooh Supervising Animator / Visual Development Artist Tigger
2017 Mushka Director


  1. ^ "Deja views", Features, The Northern Echo, 30 January 2010
  2. ^ Ghez, Didier,"Interview with Andreas Deja". Archived from the original on 18 February 2012. Retrieved 2008-10-26.  , Paris, January 1995, accessed February 10, 2014
  3. ^ Andreas Deja : " ... If you take the drawing out of Disney, it just isn't Disney" Interview, Jim Hill Media, 20 June 2007
  4. ^ Katis, Clay (2005). The Animation Podcast: Andreas Deja (Part 03 of 03) (Podcast). Retrieved 2012-02-20. 
  5. ^ Winsor McCay Award Archived 12 June 2015 at the Wayback Machine., The Annie Awards, retrieved on 2008-10-26
  6. ^ Deja View
  7. ^ Andreas Deja shares the lessons he learned from those animation masters, Disney's Nine Old Men
  8. ^ Seymour, Craig (6 October 2000). "Yep, They're Gay". Entertainment Weekly. 
  9. ^ Dines, Gail; McMahon Humez, Jean (August 2002). Gender, Race, and Class in Media: A Text-reader. Sage Publications. p. 209. ISBN 978-0-7619-2261-2. 
  10. ^ Schweizer, Peter (September 1998). The Mouse Betrayed. Regnery Publishing. p. 148. ISBN 0-89526-387-4. 
  11. ^ Provenzano, Tom (28 June 1994). "The Lion in Summer". The Advocate: 66. 
  12. ^ Elser, Daniela (4 March 2011). "Gay families in Disney movies only a matter of time, says Lion King animator Andreas Deja". 

External links[edit]