Bill Peet

Active - 1940 - 1963  |   Born - Jan 29, 1915   |   Died - May 11, 2002   |   Genres - Children's/Family, Fantasy

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A key player who worked closely with the legendary "Nine Old Men" troupe of Disney animators who developed storyboards for what would eventually become some of the studio's earliest screen efforts, writer/animator Bill Peet was often considered Disney's number-two man in terms of both story development and depiction of some of the Mouse House's most endearing and enduring characters. Born in Grandview, IN, and raised on a farm in Indianapolis, as a youngster Peet was especially fascinated with trains and animals. An unexceptional student, Peet found his niche late in his schooling when he entered the Herron Art Institute. Finding work as a greeting card illustrator upon graduation, the 22-year-old artist joined Disney in 1937. Working his way through the ranks by animating such popular features as Pinocchio (1940), Dumbo (1941), and Song of the South (1946), Peet's disagreements with Walt Disney became the stuff of legends among the company's employees, so much so that Peet would later admit to drawing Peter Pan villain Captain Hook in Disney's likeness. Peet would continue to work for Disney for 27 years despite their frequent clashes, later contributing to such legendary films as Cinderella (1950), Alice in Wonderland (1951), and Sleeping Beauty (1959) before departing to seek a career as an author of illustrated children's books after finishing work on 1967's The Jungle Book. As the author of such efforts as The Pinkish, Purplish, Bluish Egg and Chester the Worldly Pig, Peet would publish more than 35 well-loved books and receive numerous awards. Married to wife Margaret in 1938, Peet became a father and eventual grandfather. Following lengthy battles with pneumonia, cancer, and heart problems in his later years, Peet died in his Studio City, CA, home in early May of 2002. He was 87.

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