NORTHWEST ASIAN WEEKLY
Tyrus Wong, the artist whose works inspired the Disney film Bambi, died at the age of 106 on Dec. 30.
Wong’s death was announced on his Facebook page, saying, “With heavy hearts, we announce the passing of Tyrus Wong. Tyrus died peacefully at his home, surrounded by his loving daughters Kim, Kay, and Tai-Ling.”
A Chinese immigrant, Wong’s vibrant paintings captured Walt Disney’s eye and became the basis of the Bambi film’s distinct style. In a statement, the Walt Disney Family Museum said, “His influence on the artistic composition of the animated feature Bambi cannot be overstated.”
Wong immigrated to the United States as a child, with his father — leaving behind his mother and a sister he would never see again.
He attended the Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles on a scholarship and began working with Disney in 1938 as an “inbetweener,” drawing hundreds of pictures between poses to create the illusion of motion.
After leaving Disney, Wong worked as a concept and story artist for Warner Brothers for two decades, before retiring in 1968. In his retirement, he continued to create art, such as cards for Hallmark, ceramics, toys, murals, and kites. A documentary about him, Tyrus, was directed by Pam Tom and released in 2014.
Wong is survived by his daughters and extended family.