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Grease and Lady and the Tramp animator John David Wilson dies aged 93


The animator behind the iconic opening credits to 1978 film Grease has died aged 93.

John David Wilson, who also worked on Lady and the Tramp, Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck died in a Blackpool nursing home according to the Hollywood Reporter.

The pioneering animation producer and director was schooled in the art of animation by Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs director David Hand.

Born in Wimbledon on 7 August 1919, Wilson joined the London Rifle Brigade aged 20. Two years later he lost a leg in a bombing campaign in Africa and while convalescing in a Cairo hospital passed the time by drawing cartoons.

Upon his return to London Wilson worked at Pinewood Studios where his credits included David Lean’s 1946 film Great Expectations.

After moving to America, and having honed his animation skills at G.B Animation under the tutelage of Hand, Wilson founded Fine Art Films in 1955.

His credits for Disney include Peter Pan (1953), Lady and the Tramp (1955) and Oscar-winning short “Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom” (1953).

Wilson returned to England in 1995 and retired in St. Annes-on-the-Sea in Lancashire.

He is survived by his wife, Fabian, children David, Debbe, Michael, Victoria, Peter and Andrew, and grandchildren and great grandchildren.