Ron Clements

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Ron Clements
Ron Clements 2.jpg
Born Ronald Francis Clements[1]
(1953-04-25) April 25, 1953 (age 65)
Sioux City, Iowa, U.S.
Occupation Animator, animation director, screenwriter, producer
Employer Walt Disney Animation Studios
Spouse(s) Tamara Lee Glumace (1989–present)[1]

Ron Clements (born April 25, 1953) is an American animation director, screenwriter and producer. He often collaborates with fellow director John Musker.

Life and career[edit]

Clements was born in Sioux City, Iowa, the son of Gertrude (née Gereau) and Joseph Clements.[1]

Clements began his career as an animator for Hanna-Barbera. After a few months there, he was accepted into Disney's Talent Development Program, an animator training ground and workshop. After that, he served a two-year apprenticeship with famed animator Frank Thomas, a supervising animator in classic Disney films such as Peter Pan (1953), Lady and the Tramp (1955), and The Aristocats (1970). Clements made his feature debut as a character animator on The Rescuers and Pete's Dragon in 1977. In 1981, he became the supervising animator on The Fox and the Hound. Future partner John Musker worked as a character animator under him, and Clements later teamed up with Musker as story artists on The Black Cauldron before they were removed from the project.[2] In 1982, Clements proposed adapting children's book series Basil of Baker Street by Eve Titus into an animated feature and, along with story artist Pete Young, it was pitched to Ron Miller.[3] Because the animators were displeased with the direction of The Black Cauldron was heading, Basil of Baker Street was approved as an alternative project.[4] Burny Mattinson and Musker were assigned as the original directors while Dave Michener was brought in as an additional director. Due to a shortened production schedule and multiple story rewrites, Roy E. Disney assigned Mattinson to serve as director/producer while Clements was brought in as another director.[4]

While working on The Great Mouse Detective, newly appointed Disney CEO and chairman Michael Eisner and Jeffrey Katzenberg issued invitations to the animation staff for their first held "gong show" session. Demanding only five new ideas, Clements went to a bookstore and discovered Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Mermaid. Clements wrote and presented a two-page treatment of Mermaid to Disney CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg at a "gong show" idea suggestion meeting, as well as conceptualized the idea of Treasure Planet. At the gong show session, Mermaid was rejected for its similarities to Splash while Planet was rejected by Eisner because Paramount Pictures was developing a Star Trek sequel with a Treasure Island angle (that went eventually unproduced).[5] The next morning, Katzenberg approached Clements and asked him to expand his initial treatment. With Mermaid in production in 1986, Clements and Musker were later joined by Off-Broadway musical composers Howard Ashman and Alan Menken who collaborated on the song and musical score.[6] Released in November 1989, The Little Mermaid was praised as a milestone in rebirth of Disney animation by film critics and collected a domestic gross of $84 million,[7] cumulatively receiving $184.2 million worldwide.[8] When work on Mermaid was wrapped, Clements and Musker re-developed their idea for Treasure Planet,[9] but the studio still expressed disinterest. Instead, the two directors were offered three projects in development: Swan Lake, King of the Jungle, and Aladdin.[10] The directors chose Aladdin because they thought the story would suit a wackier, faster-paced, and more contemporary mood than that found in recent Disney animated films.[11]

Following the shutdown of Disney's traditional animation unit in 2003, John Lasseter selected Musker and Clements to work on The Princess and the Frog.

Working from Ashman and Menken's treatment and musical score, the two delivered a story reel to Katzenberg in April 1991, which was strongly disapproved of.[11] Jettisoning multiple characters and story ideas and the inclusion of Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio as co-screenwriters, the production team restructured the entire story in eight days.[12] Released in November 1992, Aladdin received positive reviews from film critics, and became the first animated film to gross over $200 million in domestic grosses.[13] Following work on Aladdin, Clements, along with Musker, resumed their work on Treasure Planet, which was again turned down by Katzenberg in 1993 who disapproved the adaptation of a classic adventure tale and setting it in outer space.[14] A deal was struck with the two directors to create another commercial film before he would approve Treasure Planet. Rejecting projects in development such as Don Quixote, The Odyssey, and Around the World in Eighty Days, they were later informed of animator Joe Haidar's pitch for a Hercules feature, and signed onto the project.[15] During production on Hercules, in 1995, Clements and Musker signed a seven-year contract deal with the studio which stipulated following Hercules, the studio would produce Treasure Planet or another project of their choosing.[14]

With Treasure Planet completed in 2002, Clements and Musker later inherited Fraidy Cat, which was originally a project developed by Dutch animation director Piet Kroon.[16] However, David Stainton, then-president of Walt Disney Feature Animation, refused to green-light the project.[17] which was followed with Clements and Musker's resignation from Disney in September 2005.[18] When John Lasseter was appointed chief creative officer over Disney Feature Animation in February 2006, he invited Clements and Musker back to Disney to oversee production on The Frog Princess,[19] and were officially confirmed as directors in the following July.[20] Later re-titled The Princess and the Frog, the film received positive reviews and grossed $267 million worldwide.[21]

After directing The Princess and the Frog, Clements and Musker started working on an adaptation of Terry Pratchett's Mort,[22] but obtaining the film rights prevented them from continuing with the project.[23] To avoid similar problems, they pitched three new ideas, where by 2011, the two directors started developing the film based on an original idea.[23] In late 2012, the duo announced that they will be directing a new film in the future, but they have their lips sealed for the title, the plot, and the animation style. In July 2013, it was revealed that the film, titled Moana, would be "a Polynesian tale involving the island folk and the idols made famous the world over".[24] On November 10, 2014, Disney confirmed Moana would be released on November 23, 2016.[25]

Films directed by John Musker & Ron Clements[edit]

Year Film Notes
1986 The Great Mouse Detective Directorial Debut
1989 The Little Mermaid
1992 Aladdin
1997 Hercules
2002 Treasure Planet
2009 The Princess and the Frog
2016 Moana[24] First CGI film work


Bishop Heelan Catholic High School, Sioux City, Iowa
Art Center College of Design Pasadena, California

Awards and nominations[edit]

  • Edgar Allan Poe Award Best Motion Picture (Nomination) – The Great Mouse Detective, 1987
  • Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award Best Animation (Awarded) – Aladdin, 1992
  • Annie Outstanding Individual Achievement in the Field of Animation (Awarded), 1993
  • Annie Best Individual Achievement: Directing in a Feature Production (Awarded) – Hercules, 1997
  • Annie Best Individual Achievement: Producing in a Feature Production (Awarded) – Hercules, 1997
  • Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award Best Animation (Awarded) – Hercules, 1997
  • Academy Award Best Animated Feature (Nomination) – Treasure Planet, 2002
  • Academy Award Best Animated Feature (Nomination) – The Princess and the Frog, 2009
  • Annie Outstanding Directing in an Animated Feature Production (Nomination) – Treasure Planet, 2002


John Musker and Ron Clements have cast certain actors in more than one of their films.

The Great
Mouse Detective
The Little
Aladdin Hercules Treasure
The Princess
and the Frog
Corey Burton
Jim Cummings
Keith David
Paddi Edwards
Frank Welker


  1. ^ a b c "Ronald (Francis) Clements Biography (1953-)". Film Reference. Advameg Inc.
  2. ^ Thomas 1997, p. 117.
  3. ^ Hulett 2014, p. 51.
  4. ^ a b Korkis, Jim (February 23, 2011). "How Basil Saved Disney Feature Animation: Part One". USA Today. Archived from the original on July 12, 2014. Retrieved December 28, 2015.
  5. ^ Stewart 2005, p. 93–94.
  6. ^ Stewart 2005.
  7. ^ Thomas 1997, p. 120.
  8. ^ "1989 Worldwide Grosses". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved December 28, 2015.
  9. ^ Verrier, Richard; Eller, Claudia (December 6, 2002). "Disney's 'Treasure Planet' an Adventure in Losing Money". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 28, 2015.
  10. ^ Ron Clements; John Musker (October 13, 2015). "Everything you ever wanted to know about Aladdin" (Interview). Interviewed by Josh Labrecque. Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved December 28, 2015.
  11. ^ a b Rhodes, Joe (November 8, 1992). "COVER STORY : What Would Walt Say? : The credits read Disney, but 'Aladdin' is a brand-new 'toon, an irreverent high-stakes gamble that veers sharply from tradition". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 28, 2015.
  12. ^ John Musker, Ron Clements, Eric Goldberg, Amy Pell, Ed Gombert, Terry Rossio, Ted Elliot (2004). Reflections On Black Friday (DVD). Walt Disney Home Video.
  13. ^ Fox, David J. (April 21, 1993). "'Aladdin' Becomes a $200-Million Genie for Disney". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 28, 2015.
  14. ^ a b Verrier, Richard; Eller, Claudia (December 10, 2002). "'Treasure Planet': A Disney dud in the making for a long time". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved December 28, 2015.
  15. ^ Hill, Jim (April 5, 2001). "Who the hell do we get to play Hades?". Jim Hill Media. Retrieved December 28, 2015.
  16. ^ Lowe, R. Kinsey (April 5, 2004). "Bad day in the barnyard". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 28, 2015.
  17. ^ Hill, Jim (August 17, 2005). "Why was the head of WDFA afraid to put "Fraidy Cat" into production?". Jim Hill Media. Retrieved December 28, 2015.
  18. ^ Sito, Tom (March 14, 2006). "The Late, Great, 2D Animation Renaissance — Part 2". Animation World Network. Retrieved December 28, 2015.
  19. ^ Ron Clements; John Musker (March 11, 2010). "An Interview with John Musker and Ron Clements". DVD Dizzy (Interview). Interviewed by Luke Bannano. Retrieved December 28, 2015.
  20. ^ "Comic-Con Sees Stars, 2D Officially Back at Disney". Animation World Network. July 23, 2006. Retrieved December 28, 2015.
  21. ^ "The Princess and the Frog (2009) – Box Office Mojo". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved December 28, 2015.
  22. ^ Connelly, Brendon (April 6, 2013). "What Disney's Film Of Terry Pratchett's Mort Might Have Looked Like... And A Preview Of Things To Come". Bleeding Cool. Retrieved December 28, 2015.
  23. ^ a b Miller, Bruce (August 24, 2013). "Sioux City native Ron Clements preps new film for Disney studio". Sioux City Journal. Retrieved December 28, 2015.
  24. ^ a b Jardine, William (July 11, 2013). "Tonnes of New Details Revealed About Disney's Upcoming Slate!". Big Screen Animation. Retrieved July 11, 2013.
  25. ^ Lang, Brent (November 10, 2014). "Disney Animation's 'Zootopia,' 'Moana' Hitting Theaters in 2016". Variety. Retrieved December 28, 2015.


External links[edit]