May 15, 1908|
New York City, New York
|Died||May 6, 2005
|Cause of death||Heart attack|
|Occupation||Animator, artist, writer|
Joe Grant (May 15, 1908 – May 6, 2005) was a Disney artist and writer.
Born in New York City, New York, he worked for The Walt Disney Company as a character designer and story artist beginning in 1933 on the Mickey Mouse short, Mickey's Gala Premier. He was a Disney legend. He created the Queen in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. He co-wrote Dumbo. He also led development of Pinocchio and Fantasia.
During World War II, Grant worked on war cartoons including the Academy Award winning Der Fuehrer's Face. He left the Disney studio in 1949 and ran a ceramics business and a greeting card business but returned in 1989 to work on Beauty and the Beast. He also worked on Aladdin, The Lion King, Pocahontas, Mulan, Fantasia 2000, and Pixar's Monsters, Inc. among others. The last two films he worked on before his death, Chicken Little and Pixar's Up, were dedicated to him.
Grant worked four days a week at Disney until he died, nine days before his 97th birthday. Grant's final project, Lorenzo, for which he conceived the idea and helped storyboard, received an Academy Award nomination in 2005.
In 2004, a short film he developed called Lorenzo was made and was based on his cat who got into a fight with two poodles back in 1949. While it happened, he was thinking, "what would happen if he lost his tail?" The short, directed by Mike Gabriel, was released on March 4th, 2004 at the Florida Film Festival and made its world premier in front of the critically panned Raising Helen, with this the only positive feedback from critics and audiences. The finished short was planned at the time to be attached for a planned third Fantasia movie, but in 2003, the planned feature was eventually cancelled due to several years of funding and staff cutbacks from Walt Disney Feature Animation. The short won an Annie Award for Best Animated Short Subject, and was included at the Animation Show of Shows.
On May 6, 2005, Grant was found unconscious while working in his drawing board in the studio. Paramedics rushed him to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival. After an autopsy was performed, the doctors discovered that the 96-year-old died of a heart attack. He is interred in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California. Grant's wife Jenny preceded him in death in 1992 and he was survived by two daughters.
Lady, the protagonist from Lady and the Tramp was based on a pet English Springer Spaniel named Lady owned by Joe Grant, it is said by his daughter on the DVD (Lady and the Tramp) that Walt Disney thought the dog's long fur looked like a dress and suggested creating a story board featuring his dog.
- Lady's Pedigree: The Making of Lady and the Tramp. Section; 'What a Perfect Little Lady: The Story of Lady and the Tramp'
- Canemaker, John (2010). Two Guys Named Joe: Master Animation Storytellers Joe Grant & Joe Ranft. New York: Disney. ISBN 978-1-4231-1067-5.
- Joe Grant at the Internet Movie Database
- Another obituary
- Lorenzo Director / Production designer Mike Gabriel uses sequences of production art to discuss the creative process on Lorenzo, a Disney short based on story ideas and sketches by Joe Grant.