Animator and director Kenneth David “Ken” Walker, whose work for Disney included such memorable films as Alice in Wonderland and Fantasia, died August 18 in Laguna Hills, California. He was 91.
A member of the Directors Guild of America, he worked for Disney from 1940–42 and 1945–52. He was filmed as one of Disney’s leading animators on the “Disney Cartoons” episode of You Asked For It, which can currently be seen on YouTube.
Walker also worked for many other notable companies, such as Columbia Pictures and Hanna-Barbera. He was the founder and sole owner of N.Y.C. Totem Productions from 1965 to 1971. In 1981, he founded Funnybone Films in Hollywood, California, where he remained owner for 20 years.
In TV, he animated Milton the Monster (1965), Bailey’s Comets (1973) and The Great Grape Ape Show (1977). He animated the ABC Afterschool Specials The Incredible, Indelible, Magical Physical, Mystery Trip (1973) and The Magical Mystery Trip Through Little Red’s Head (1974).
Walker animated the TV specials The Bear Who Slept Through Christmas (1973) and The Grinch Grinches the Cat in the Hat (1982), as well as the TV-movie Clerow Wilson’s Great Escape and The Mad Magazine TV Special, both made in 1974. He was a production designer for the 2000 special It’s the Pied Piper, Charlie Brown and a timing director for the 1994–94 series Skeleton Warriors.
He was a character animator for the 1982 H-B feature film Heidi’s Song and an animator for the 1992 hybrid movie Cool World. As well, he animated the theatrical 1974 short Trail of the Lonesome Pink and was animation director of the independent 1966 short Seeds of Discovery.
Born in Salt Lake City, Utah on May 4, 1921, Walker graduated from North Hollywood High School in the winter of 1940. He served in the United States Navy in the Pacific Theatre from 1942 to 1945.
Ken Walker was predeceased by his first wife, Sally Harriet (Sheppard) Walker, and second wife, Helen (Jacob) Walker.
He is survived by his wife, Carolyn Vera (Phillips) Walker; son Kenneth Alfred Walker of Murrieta, California; daughters Sue (Walker) Bingham of Veradale, Washington and Lynne Sperry (Walker) Bladergroen of Savannah, Georgia; brother George August Gewehr of Tucson, Arizona; grandchildren Glenn Michael Walker, Tiffany Cole Moss, Lindsey Suzanne (Bingham) Skinfill, Ian and Kyle Bladergroen; and great-grandchildren, Brooke and Tyler Walker, Gabriella Rae Skinfill and Aubrey Bladergroen.
A service will be held at 12:45 p.m. Monday August 27 at Riverside National Cemetery.