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Charles Richard Grills

Pioneer in multiplane camera usage, Disney dept. head

Charles Richard Grills, one of the first to use the multiplane camera in the world of Disney animation and who retired as head of Disney’s camera department, died July 12 at the Motion Picture and Television Hospital in Woodland Hills, Calif. He was 89.

Grills got his start at the Walt Disney Co. in 1937 working on “Snow White.” As a Disney employee he went on to become an integral part of the cartoon camera department, where he was part of the first crew to operate the newly invented multiplane camera, which gave a more three-dimensional feel to animated films.

He later worked on such Disney classics as “Pinocchio,” “Bambi,” “Sleeping Beauty,” “Fantasia,” “Cinderella” and live features including “Old Yeller.” During WWII, he served in the field photographic branch of the OSS under John Ford. After the war Grills became the head of Disney’s camera department, holding that post until his retirement retiring in 1979.

He is survived by his brother as well as nieces and nephews.

Donations can be made to the Motion Picture and Television Fund or to a favorite charity.

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