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 58)
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 from Beauty and the Beast, Jafar from Aladdin, Scar from The Lion King and the hero Hercules from 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 from Beauty and the Beast, Jafar in Aladdin, Scar from The Lion King, and Queen Narissa from Enchanted. He also animated Roger Rabbit from Who Framed Roger Rabbit, King Triton from The Little Mermaid, the title character from Hercules, Lilo from 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 2016.[7][8]

Personal life[edit]

Deja is openly gay.[9] His sexuality has been discussed as an influence on the development of some Disney characters.[10][11][12][13]

Animation credits[edit]


  1. ^ "Deja views", Features, The Northern Echo, 30 January 2010
  2. ^ Ghez, Didier, Interview with Andreas Deja at the Wayback Machine (archived February 18, 2012), Paris, January 1995, accessed Febnruary 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, The Annie Awards, retrieved on 2008-10-26
  6. ^ Deja View
  7. ^ Deja View: Sarah and Mushka
  8. ^ Deja View: Happy Holidays!
  9. ^ Seymour, Craig (6 October 2000). "Yep, They're Gay". Entertainment Weekly. 
  10. ^ 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. 
  11. ^ Schweizer, Peter (September 1998). The Mouse Betrayed. Regnery Publishing. p. 148. ISBN 0-89526-387-4. 
  12. ^ Provenzano, Tom (28 June 1994). "The Lion in Summer". The Advocate: 66. 
  13. ^ Elser, Daniela (4 March 2011). "Gay families in Disney movies only a matter of time, says Lion King animator Andreas Deja". 

External links[edit]