Leslie James Clark
November 17, 1907
Ogden, Utah, U.S.
|Died||September 12, 1979 (aged 71)|
|Known for||One of Disney's Nine Old Men|
|Spouse(s)||Miriam Lauritzen (m. ?; div. 1952)|
Georgia Vester (m. 1967)
Leslie James "Les" Clark (November 17, 1907 – September 12, 1979) was the first of Disney's Nine Old Men. Joining Disney in 1927, he was the only one to work on the origins of Mickey Mouse with Ub Iwerks.
Les Clark was born in Ogden, Utah in 1907, the eldest of 12 children to James Clark, a carpenter, and Lute Wadsworth. By 1910, the family lived in Salt Lake City and by 1920, they lived in Twin Falls, Idaho. By 1930, they lived in Los Angeles, where he attended Venice High School. During high school, he worked a summer job at an ice cream shop near Walt Disney Studios in Hollywood. Walt and Roy Disney were frequent patrons at the shop, and Walt had once complimented Les on his lettering job of the menus. Eventually, Les got the courage to ask Walt for a job. He recalled Walt's reply:
...[Walt said] 'Bring some of your drawings in and let's see what they look like.' So, I copied some cartoons and showed them to Walt. He said I had a good line, and why don't I come to work on Monday.
Les reported to the studio the Monday after he graduated high school for a temporary position.
He and his wife, Miriam, had a son, Richard, and a daughter, Miriam.
Career at Disney Studio
Les started work at the studio first as a camera operator and doing ink and paint on the animations. He moved on to work under the guidance of Ub Iwerks. During the development of the character Mickey Mouse, Clark was promoted to the position of 'inbetweener' where he worked on a scene for the upcoming Steamboat Willie. Les was then promoted to Animator and was tasked with the iconic scene The Skeleton Dance in Silly Symphony. After Ub Iwerks left Disney, Clark was given the position as lead animator on Mickey Mouse. He continued honing his craft, attending art classes while working at the studio. As he improved, he was given the task of animating the Seven Dwarfs in the upcoming film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, in particular, the scene where Snow White dances with each of the seven dwarfs. He would go on to animate the iconic Disney characters Pinocchio, Cinderella, Alice and Tinkerbell.
Les Clark was known in his style of animating for timing his animation to musical scores as well as his ability to convey emotion in his work.
Les Clark died of cancer in Santa Barbara, CA on September 12, 1979.
|1937||Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs||Animator|
|Fantasia||Animator - Segments "The Nutcracker Suite" and "The Sorcerer's Apprentice"|
|1943||Saludos Amigos (Short)||Animator|
|1945||The Three Caballeros||Animator|
|1946||Make Mine Music||Animator|
|Song of the South||Directing Animator|
|1947||Fun and Fancy Free||Directing Animator|
|1948||You Were Meant for Me||Choreographer|
|Melody Time||Directing Animator|
|1949||So Dear to My Heart||Animator|
|Alice in Wonderland||Directing Animator|
|1952||The Little House (Short)||Animator|
|1953||Peter Pan||Directing Animator|
|Ben and Me (Short)||Animator|
|1954||Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color (TV Series)||Special Effects - 1 Episode|
|1955||Lady and the Tramp||Directing Animator|
|1956 - 1958||Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color (TV Series)||Animator - 3 Episodes|
|1959||Sleeping Beauty||Sequence Director|
|Donald in Mathmagic Land||Sequence Director|
|1961||One Hundred and One Dalmatians||Character Animator|
|Donald and the Wheel (Short)||Animator|
|1961 - 1970||Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color||Director - 3 Episodes / Sequence Director and 1 Episode|
|1962||A Symposium on Popular Songs (Short)||Animator|
|1964||The Restless Sea (TV Movie Documentary)||Director|
|1965||Freewayphobia #1 (Short)||Director|
|Steel and America (Short)||Director|
|Donald's Fire Survival Plan (Short)||Director|
|Goofy's Freeway Troubles (Short)||Director|
|1967||Family Planning (Short)||Director|
|1968||Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color (TV Series)||Globe Effects - 1 Episode / Friends of Mickey Mouse - 1 Episode|
|The Mickey Mouse Anniversary Show||Animator|
|1969||Physical Fitness and Good Health (Short)||Director|
|The Social Side of Health (Short)||Director|
|The Project (Short)||Director|
|The Game (Short)||Director|
|The Fight (Short)||Director|
|Steps Towards Maturity and Health (Short)||Director|
|1970||New Girl (Short)||Director|
|Lunch Money (Short)||Director|
|1973||VD Attack Plan (Short)||Director|
|I'm No Fool with Electricity (Short)||Director|
|1974||Man, Monsters and Mysteries (Short)||Director|
|1980||Mickey Mouse Disco (Short)||Animator|
|1984||DTV: Rock, Rhythm & Blues (Video)||Animator|
|DTV: Pop & Rock (Video)||Animator|
|DTV: Golden Oldies (Short)||Animator|
|2000||Fantasia 2000||Animator - Segment "The Sorcerer's Apprentice"|
- 1910 United States Federal Census
- Utah, Birth Certificates, 1903-1911
- 1920 United States Federal Census
- 1930 United States Federal Census
- 1940 United States Federal Census
- Wolfe, Jennifer (2012-12-31). "Animator Lee Hartman Dies at 82". Animation World Network. Retrieved 2013-01-06.
- Canemaker, John. (2001). Walt Disney's Nine Old Men and the Art of Animation. New York, NY: Disney Editions. ISBN 0-7868-6496-6