Tyrus Wong dead: Walt Disney’s Bambi artist dies at 106

The Disney legend died peacefully at his home surrounded by his three daughters

Maya Oppenheim
Sunday 01 January 2017 12:29
Comments
Wong joined Disney as an entry level animator in 1938
Wong joined Disney as an entry level animator in 1938

​Tyrus Wong, the artist whose paintings served as a visual inspiration for Disney classic Bambi, has died at the age of 106.

The Disney legend died peacefully at his home on Friday surrounded by his three daughters.

Wong’s death was announced on his Facebook page. “With heavy hearts, we announce the passing of Tyrus Wong,” the post read. “Tyrus died peacefully at his home surrounded by his loving daughters Kim, Kay and Tai-Ling. He was 106 years old.”

The Walt Disney Family Museum expressed its sadness at the news of his passing in a statement.

“Legendary Disney artist, Tyrus Wong had a gift for evoking incredible feeling in his art with simple, gestural composition,” it read.

“Though Tyrus worked at The Walt Disney Studios only three years, between 1938 and 1941; his influence on the artistic composition of the animated feature Bambi cannot be overstated.”

The painter was born in Canton (now Guangzhou) in China in 1910 but immigrated to California at the age of nine with his father, leaving his mother and sister behind, whom they never saw again.

From an early age, Wong developed a keen interest in drawing and painting. Teachers noticed his artistic talents and he received a scholarship for the Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles. Quickly afterwards, Wong found his feet as an entry level animator at Disney in 1938, toiling away drawing hundreds of Mickey Mouse sketches.

But it was not long until the Bambi sketches he had painted at home were spotted by Walt Disney. They quickly formed the basis for the visual style of the cult Disney classic.

After finishing at Disney, Wong started working at Warner Brothers, where he worked for the following 26 years.

In 2001, he was inducted into the Disney Legend Hall of Fame.

Wong is survived both by his daughters and his wider family.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in