Tyrus Wong, Pioneer ‘Bambi’ Artist, Dies at 106

Tyrus Wong Bambi
Photo courtesy of Adele Pham

Tyrus Wong, whose paintings served as visual inspiration for Disney’s animated classic “Bambi,” died Friday, Dec. 30. He was 106.

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.”

Wong was born in China before immigrating to the Bay Area at age 9. From there he went to art school on a scholarship followed by accepting a low-level animation job in 1938. After hearing about Walt Disney’s “Bambi” project he put together some paintings of deer in a forest, which impressed Disney enough to use them as inspiration for the film. The animated classic isn’t all Wong is known for though, he’s also worked on film’s like “Rebel Without a Cause, “The Green Berets,” and “The Wild Bunch.”

In 2001, Wong was named a Disney Legend, and in 2013 he had his artwork featured in the Walt Disney Family Museum. In October of this year Wong received two honors at the Asian World Film Festival. He was awarded with a lifetime achievement award on the opening day with the following day (his 106th birthday) being the screening of the documentary about him titled “Tyrus” directed by Pam Tom.

Nelson Coates, the president of the Art Directors Guild commented, “On behalf of the Art Directors Guild, I am very saddened to share news of the loss of our highly talented friend, Tyrus Wong. His work and life inspired so many of us with his passion, originality, and creativity. Deepest condolences are extended to his family and many friends at this time.”

According to the statement, the Art Directors Guild will present a tribute to Mr. Wong at its awards ceremony on Feb 11.

Wong is survived by his daughters Kim, Kay and Tai-Ling.

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 4

Leave a Reply

4 Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. Alex Meyer says:

    R.I.P. At least he is now getting the credit he deserved.

  2. nerdrage says:

    Bambi is a glorious work of art. Thanks, Tyrus!

  3. David Quinlan says:

    What an inspirational artist in so many ways!

  4. Bas says:

    God I hope me and my family live this long…May his soul Rest in Peace.

More Film News from Variety

Loading