Disney Animator Milton Quon Dies at 105

Milton Quon, an animator who worked on “Fantasia” and “Dumbo,” died of natural causes at his home in Torrance, Ca., on June 18. He was 105.

His son, artist Mike Quon, told Variety that his father was drawing up until his last days. He also acted in movies including “Speed,” “Chill Factor,” “Sweet Jane,” “The Cat Killers” and the TV series “NYPD Blue” in addition to working as a Disney publicity executive. He described his “Speed” character in a 2005 interview as the “token Asian on the bus.”

Mike Quon said his father maintained a sense of humor throughout his life. When asked about the secret to his longevity, he would reply, “A good wife and Chinese food.”

Quon was born in Los Angeles as the eldest of eight children and the only son of immigrants from Canton, China. He was encouraged by an uncle to pursue a career in art, before receiving a scholarship to the Chouinard Art Institute. Soon after, he began creating menus and producing design work for restaurants in the Chinatown district in Los Angeles.

Quon joined Walt Disney Studios in 1939 soon after graduation from Chouinard as the third Chinese-American to be hired by the studio. He worked on the “Waltz of the Flowers” and the “Arabian Dance” scenes in “Fantasia” and as first assistant animator on “Dumbo.”

Popular on Variety

Quon also headed a team of artists at Douglas Aircraft during World War II, working on illustrations for repair manuals for its planes. He returned to Disney after the war and ran its publicity/promotions department, including performing artwork for films including “Make Mine Music” and “Song of the South.”

Quon joined the advertising agency BBD&O as art director in 1951. He worked as senior design artist at Sealright Co., from 1964 until his retirement in 1980. He taught drawing, painting and advertising courses at Los Angeles Trade-Technical College from 1974 to 1989.

The Chinese American Museum in Los Angeles presented a retrospective exhibit of his work in 2005. He received the Golden Spike Award from the Chinese Historical Society of Southern California in 2013 and was featured in a father and son art exhibition in Red Bank, New Jersey, with his son Mike and in a solo exhibition at Santa Monica College’s Emeritus Gallery.

Survivors include his widow, Peggy; children Mike, Jeff, Tim and Sherrill; and four grandchildren. The family has asked that donations in his memory be made to the Chinese American Museum, the Chinese Historical Society of Southern California and the South Bay Presbyterian Church of Torrance.

More Film

  • Feels Good Man

    'Feels Good Man': Film Review

    When is a cartoon frog not just a cartoon frog? When he’s Pepe, the brainchild of artist Matt Furie, who in 2005 created the laid-back anthropomorphic amphibian for a comic about post-collegiate slacker life, only to subsequently watch as the character was adopted as a symbol of white nationalist hate by the alt-right and Donald [...]

  • The Nest

    'The Nest': Film Review

    All work and no play makes Rory O’Hara a dull boy — which is to say, one can scarcely overlook the connections between Sean Durkin’s subtly unsettling second feature, “The Nest,” and Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining,” even if this is by far the more tedious of the two movies. While the obsessive dad Law plays [...]

  • Tiziana Soudani

    Tiziana Soudani, Prominent Swiss Producer, Dies

    Swiss producer Tiziana Soudani, who through her Amka Films shepherded prizewinning films by prominent directors from nearby Italy, such as Alice Rohrwacher and Silvio Soldini, as well as by emerging talents in Switzerland and Africa, has died after a struggle with brain cancer. She was in her mid 60s, though her exact age was not immediately verifiable. [...]

  • Time's Up U.K. Teams With British

    British Stars Carey Mulligan, Himesh Patel Compile 'Alternative BAFTA' Nominees List

    British stars including Carey Mulligan, Himesh Patel and Gemma Arterton have contributed to an ‘Alternative BAFTAs’ list of nominees that honors talent overlooked by this year’s awards. The campaign is organized by Time’s Up U.K., which is rolling out a social media blitz this week in the lead-up to Sunday’s BAFTA awards honoring the women [...]

  • Rebecca Hall appears in The Night

    'The Night House': Film Review

    A knack for creepy atmospherics and individual scares goes a long way in the horror genre, and it takes “The Night House” pretty far. Though this tale of a new widow’s apparent haunting gets progressively lost in a narrative maze that’s complicated without being particularly rewarding, . Rebecca Hall plays Beth, an upstate New York [...]

  • Herself

    Amazon Studios Buys Phyllida Lloyd's 'Herself' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Amazon Studios has nabbed North American rights to Phyllida Lloyd’s “Herself,” an Irish drama about a woman who builds her dream house after escaping an abusive marriage, Variety has learned.  The streaming service is planning a theatrical release for later this year. The film debuted at the Sundance Film Festival, where it enjoyed a warm [...]

  • Blast Beat

    'Blast Beat': Film Review

    Back home in Bogota, teen brothers Carly and Mateo — played by siblings (and Disney Channel veterans) Mateo and Moisés Arias — are metal-blasting, skateboard-riding punks, and reluctant partners in crime. Carly, the sensible one, can’t prevent Mateo from dynamiting a dollhouse. But he’ll swoop in, hair flapping like a vampire’s cape, to rescue his [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content