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Animation vet Brice Mack dies at 90

Artist painted 'Fantasia,' 'Pinocchio' backdrops

Brice Mack, who painted animation backgrounds for Walt Disney and later produced and directed commercials and films, died Jan. 2 in Hollywood. He was 90.

Mack painted backgrounds for “Fantasia,” “Pinocchio” and other Disney films including “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” “Cinderella,” “Alice in Wonderland,” “Peter Pan,” “Song of the South” and “Lady and the Tramp.”

He also painted backgrounds for short subjects including the 1942 Academy Award winning “Lend a Paw.”

Mack attended the U. of Arizona and served as a navigator for the Air Transport Command during WWII.

After the war, he returned to Disney. In 1954 he left to start Era productions, a commercial production company specializing in animation. Mack’s company also provided animation for The Petersen Company, a top commercial production during the 60s and 70s. He produced and directed scores of animated and live action TV commercials for the Petersen Company.

Mack went on to produce and direct commercials, films and theme park rides with his company, Unicorn Productions, and continued to consult for Disney until his retirement in the early 1990s.

His feature directing credits include “Jennifer.” “Swap Meet,” “Half a House” and “Rooster.” He also produced “Mara of the Wilderness” and “Ruby.”

The colorful artist was also known in Hollywood for his boating adventures and pranks. Mack and fellow cartoonists Dick Shaw and Virgil Partch once put wheels on a boat and partied as they drove it to Las Vegas where a crane waited to lower it into the pool of the Sands hotel. Another time they put a train car on a barge and partied as they drove it to Catalina Island. In 1961 they held a party on the last Red Car ride from L.A. to Long Beach, dancing to animator pal Ward Kimball’s Dixieland Jazz band.

Brice is survived by his wife, Ginni; sons Kevin, a visual effects supervisor; Brice and Greg; and three grandsons.

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