Former Walt Disney Studios animator Bill Justice, who worked on “Bambi,” “Alice in Wonderland” and “Fantasia” and later contributed to attractions at Disneyland and Disney World, died Feb. 10 of natural causes. He was 97.
Justice joined Disney Studios in 1937. His credits there include “Saludos Amigos,” “Victory Through Air Power,” “The Three Caballeros,” “Make Mine Music” and “Peter Pan”; Thumper, in “Bambi,” and Chip ‘n’ Dale were among the characters he animated.
During the 1950s Justice helmed the animated opening for TV series “The Mickey Mouse Club.” He also directed three of Disney’s Oscar-nommed animated shorts: “Noah’s Ark” (1959), “A Symposium on Popular Songs” (1962) and “The Truth About Mother Goose” (1963).
In addition Justice worked in stop-motion animation for Disney’s “The Parent Trap,” “Mary Poppins” and “Babes in Toyland,” films that were mostly live action.
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In 1965 Justice joined Walt Disney Imagineering. There he helped program animatronic figures for Disneyland attractions that included Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln, Mission to Mars, Pirates of the Caribbean, the Haunted Mansion and the Country Bear Jamboree. At Disney World he was involved in the creation of the Hall of Presidents attraction, and he played a key role in the Mickey Mouse Revue.
Born in Dayton, Ohio, Justice grew up in Indianapolis. He attended the John Herron Art Institute with the goal of becoming a portrait artist and moved to California in 1935.
Justice retired in 1979, contributing in that year to the “Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color” segment “Baseball Fever”; he recounted his four decades at Disney in the 1992 memoir “Justice for Disney.”
He is survived by his wife, Kim; a daughter; and a granddaughter.