Disney, Bluth effects animator Dorse Lanpher dies

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Dorse Lanpher

Dorse Lan­pher

Dorse Lan­pher, “the Grand Old Mas­ter of effects ani­ma­tion,” has died, The Ani­ma­tion Guild (Local 839 IATSE) announced Sun­day. He was 76.

He died at home, get­ting ready to go out to eat with old effects crew bud­dies, accord­ing to reports from friends.

Over his 48-year career, Lanpher’s Dis­ney cred­its included Sleep­ing Beauty, The Res­cuers, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and The Lion King. “He’d (almost) worked on every­thing worth work­ing on, and passed his knowl­edge on to oth­ers,” said guild busi­ness rep­re­sen­ta­tive Steve Hulett.

Bluth func­tioned as direc­tor of effects ani­ma­tion at Don Bluth Pro­duc­tions in the 1980s after head­ing the spe­cial effects ani­ma­tion depart­ment at Disney.

Born Dorse A. Lan­pher on June 10, 1935, he worked with Don Bluth on such projects as The Secret of NIMH, Dragon’s Lair and An Amer­i­can Tail.

He had been an indus­trial design major at what is now called Art Cen­ter Col­lege of Design, but dropped out. “I quit art school in 1956. For me, that’s when ani­ma­tion started,” he said in a 1982 inter­view with Fan­tas­tic Films. “I had heard that the Dis­ney Stu­dio was look­ing for peo­ple to work on Sleep­ing Beauty. Oddly, I had never really thought about ani­ma­tion before. So I walked down Mickey Mouse Lane and got myself a job.”

His debut in ani­ma­tion came in 1959, when he was an uncred­ited assis­tant effects ani­ma­tor for Sleep­ing Beauty. Also uncred­ited, he was an effects assis­tant for One Hun­dred and One Dal­ma­tians (1961) and an assis­tant ani­ma­tor on Disney’s The Sword in the Stone (1963).

Lan­pher first received screen credit as the ani­ma­tion direc­tor of 1967’s The Three Faces of Stan­ley, an edu­ca­tional short for the Amer­i­can Can­cer Soci­ety.

He was super­vis­ing effects ani­ma­tor for 1991’s Beauty and the Beast, nom­i­nated for an Oscar for Best Picture.

He was an effects ani­ma­tor for the movies Pete’s Dragon and The Res­cuers (both 1977), The Black Hole (1979), Oliver & Com­pany and Who Framed Roger Rab­bit (both 1988), The Lit­tle Mer­maid (1989), Aladdin (1992), The Lion King (1994) and Poc­a­hon­tas (1995). In addi­tion, Lan­pher was an effects ani­ma­tor for the shorts The Small One (1978), Banjo the Wood­pile Cat (1979) and The Prince and the Pau­per (1990).

Lan­pher did spe­cial effects ani­ma­tion for Xanadu (1980), The Secret of NIMH (1982), An Amer­i­can Tail (1986), The Land Before Time (1988) and Fantasia/2000 (1999), as well as the the­atri­cal shorts Roller Coaster Rab­bit (1990) and Trail Mix-Up (1993).

Later, he was a visual effects ani­ma­tor for the Dis­ney movies The Hunch­back of Notre Dame (1996), Her­cules (1997), Mulan (1998), Tarzan (1999), The Emperor’s New Groove (2000), Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001) and Home on the Range (2004)

For TV-movies, he was an ani­ma­tion direc­tor and ani­ma­tor for Christ­mas Is (1970), Easter Is and The City That For­got About Christ­mas (both 1974), and Free­dom Is (1976).

Flyin' Chunks and Other Things to Duck

Flyin’ Chunks and Other Things to Duck

Last year, Lan­pher self-published a mem­oir, Flyin’ Chunks and Other Things to Duck: Mem­oirs of a Life Spent Doo­dling for Dol­lars.

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