Don Lusk, Animator for Disney, Charlie Brown, and 'The Smurfs,' Dies At 105

Animator Don Lusk, who worked on several Disney animated classics during its Golden Age of animation, has passed away at the age of 105, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Lusk's son Skip confirmed that the animator had passed away at a retirement home in San Clemente, California on Sunday afternoon.

Lusk was hired by Disney to work on both shorts and feature films, including Pinocchio, Fantasia, Bambi, Cinderella, and Alice in Wonderland. After leaving Disney in 1960, Lusk worked on a number of Charlie Brown projects, including A Boy Named Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Come Home, and Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown. The animator also contributed to multiple Charlie Brown primetime specials, including A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.

Before retiring in 1993, Lusk worked on hit TV series like Challenge of the GoBots, Pound Puppies, and The Addams Family. He also directed 136 episodes of The Smurfs.

Lusk's last project with Disney was 101 Dalmations and, due to his involvement in a strike decades earlier to see animators' salaries increased, was blacklisted by the studio.

"[Walt Disney said to my wife] 'Everybody who goes into this file will eventually not work here ever again,'" Lusk recalled to the Animation Guild about the strike in 2013. "I lasted [at Disney] until 1960. Hal Ambro, myself, four other guys, we were all let go. We were the last of the Mohicans. ... After they laid me off, I went home Monday afternoon and the neighborhood was in turmoil because I think they all set their clocks by my getting home at quarter after five. And my wife came out the back door as I was getting out of the car and she said, 'You got let go, huh?' And I said, 'How did you know?' And she said, 'You had a smile on your face.'"

Of his work on Fantasia, animators Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston wrote in the book Disney Animation: The Illusion of Life, "The scenes of the glowing white fish in the Arabian Dance section of 'Nutcracker Suite' amazed the whole studio. Never has an object on celluloid looked so diaphanous and delicate … No one had ever seen such a gossamer effect, and very few knew how it had been achieved."

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Lusk also worked on Song of the South, Peter Pan, Lady and the Tramp, and Sleeping Beauty (1959).

Survivors of Lusk include survivors include his daughter Marilyn; grandchildren Jason and Erica; and great-grandchildren Kyler, Catalina, Conner and Kayla.