Wolfgang “Woolie” Reitherman once described himself as “full of life and ginger” and his animation as having “vitality and … quality.” Indeed, Woolie’s boundless energy and personality spilled over into his animation. With an unusual knack for action sequences, Woolie animated such memorable sequences as the dramatic dinosaur battle in “Fantasia,” the climactic whale-chase scene in “Pinocchio,” and the fire-breathing clash between Prince Phillip and the Dragon in “Sleeping Beauty.”
Born in Munich, Germany on June 26, 1909, Woolie came to the U.S. as an infant and was raised in Sierra Madre, California. Fascinated with airplanes and flying, he attended Pasadena Junior College with the intent of becoming an aircraft engineer and later, took a job at Douglas Aircraft. In 1931, Woolie changed his course of flight, however, when he decided to become an artist and enrolled at Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles to study watercolor. While there, he met an instructor who taught classes… read more
Probably the single greatest director of Disney animation: Sleeping Beauty, The Sword in the Stone and The Aristocats are all up there with Pinocchio and Fantasia.