Biography: Bill Justice

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Birth/Death

Birth: Februrary 9th, 1914

Occupation/Title

Animator, Director, Imagineer

Bio Summary

Bill Justice initially studied portrait art at the John Herron Art Institute, but almost immediately after graduating, he went on to work for the Walt Disney Studios. He would spend the next 42 years with the company as a successful animator, and a pioneer of sorts in the areas of stop-motion animation, experimental short film animation, and audio-animatronics. He retired in 1979 and subsequently received honors and recognition for his work. He has written a memoir about his contributions to the company called “Justice for Disney,” and became a “Disney Legend” in 1996. He currently resides in Granada Hills, California with his wife Kim, where he runs the Bill Justice Foundation (a non-profit organization that supports art education and youth health programs).

Early Life/Family

Bill Justice was born in Dayton, Ohio and grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Education/Training

John Herron Art Institute

Career Outline

In 1937, Bill Justice became an animator at the Walt Disney Studios. He animated for 19 feature-length films and 57 shorts. He is most well known for his animation of the character Thumper from Disney’s “Bambi,” animation for Fantasia, as well as the title characters of “Chip ‘n’ Dale.” In the 50’s, Justice directed several “experimental” shorts and also did stop-motion animation sequences for live-action films. As Walt Disney further developed Disneyland to include animatronics in 1965, he felt that animators were necessary to bring life and realism to them. Justice was chosen to become an Imagineer, where he spent the rest of his career conceptualizing and developing animatronics, shows, and parades for Disney theme parks. He is credited with programming/designing audio-animatronics for attractions such as Pirates of the Carribean, the Haunted Mansion, Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, and the Country Bear Jamboree. He also produced the Mickey Mouse Review and helped design a variety of parades, including Disney’s first Christmas parade and the Main Street Electrical Parade. In total, Bill Justice spent 42 years with the Walt Disney Co.

Comments On Style

Justice is a talented artist with strong cartooning sensibility. He was equally adept at animation and illustration, and a variety of his lithographs and illustrations are still auctioned today.

Influences

Disney?Personality?Bill Justice demonstrated his ambition and inventiveness in his work. He also has a genuine love for art.

Personality

Anecdotes

When asked if he ever tired of drawing Mickey, Bill Justice replied by asking “Have you ever seen me draw Mickey upside down?” and demonstrated this ability.

Having worked for the company for several decades, Bill also has knowledge of the more scandalous Disney stories. In one interview for the book “Walt’s People,” he discussed the wild partying that took place at a celebration for the success of Snow White. According to Justice, “When we arrived at the Norconian Hotel, there were pools to swim in, tennis courts, a golf course, music and plenty of food and alcohol and something just snapped…There were naked swim parties, people who got drunk and were often surprised what room they were in and who they were sleeping next to when they awoke the next morning.”

Miscellaneous

Filmography

Fantasia (1940) (animator) (segment “The Pastoral Symphony”)
Der Fuehrer’s Face (1942) (animator)
Bambi (1942) (animator)
Victory Through Air Power (1943) (animator)
The Plastics Inventor (1944) (animator)
Cured Duck (1945) (animator)
Old Sequoia (1945) (animator)
Make Mine Music (1946) (animator)
Wet Paint (1946) (animator)
Double Dribble (1946) (animator)
Straight Shooters (1947) (animator) (as William Justice)
Clown of the Jungle (1947) (animator)
Bootle Beetle (1947) (animator)
Mail Dog (1947) (animator)
Chip an’ Dale (1947) (animator)
Inferior Decorator (1948) (animator)
Soup’s On (1948) (animator)
Three for Breakfast (1948) (animator)
Tea for Two Hundred (1948) (animator)
Donald’s Happy Birthday (1949) (animator)
Sea Salts (1949) (animator)
Winter Storage (1949) (animator)
All in a Nutshell (1949) (animator)
The Greener Yard (1949) (animator)
Slide Donald Slide (1949) (animator)
Toy Tinkers (1949) (animator)
Lion Around (1950) (animator)
Trailer Horn (1950) (animator)
Test Pilot Donald (1950) (animator)
Bee at the Beach (1950) (animator)
Out on a Limb (1950) (animator)
Chicken in the Rough (1951) (animator)
Dude Duck (1951) (animator)
Two Chips and a Miss (1951) (animator)
Corn Chips (1951) (animator)
Lucky Number (1951) (animator)
Alice in Wonderland (1951) (character animator)
Out of Scale (1951) (animator)
Bee on Guard (1951) (animator)
Donald Applecore (1952) (animator)
Let’s Stick Together (1952) (animator)
Uncle Donald’s Ants (1952) (animator)
Trick or Treat (1952) (animator)
Pluto’s Christmas Tree (1952) (animator)
Peter Pan (1953) (character animator)
Don’s Fountain of Youth (1953) (animator)
Working for Peanuts (1953) (animator)
Spare the Rod (1954) (animator)
Dragon Around (1954) (animator)
Grin and Bear It (1954) (animator)
The Flying Squirrel (1954) (animator)
Lake Titicaca (1955) (character animator)
Beezy Bear (1955) (animator)
Up a Tree (1955) (animator)
Hooked Bear (1956) (animator)
The Shaggy Dog (1959) (title designer)
Noah’s Ark (1959) (animator)
The Parent Trap (1961) (special titles)
Babes in Toyland (1961) (layout artist)
Bon Voyage! (1962) (special titles)
A Symposium on Popular Songs (1962) (stop motion animator)
The Misadventures of Merlin Jones (1964) (special titles)
Mary Poppins (1964) (designer: nursery sequence) ?

Director:
Jack and Old Mac (1956)
A Cowboy Needs a Horse (1956)
The Truth About Mother Goose (1957)
Noah’s Ark (1959)
A Symposium on Popular Songs (1962) ???Honors?Academy Award Nominations for animated short films for “Noah’s Ark,” “A Symposium On Popular Songs” and “The Truth About Mother Goose,” ?Inducted as a Disney Legend in 1996??Related Links?http://legends.disney.go.com/legends/detail?key=Bill+Justice?http://www.laughingplace.com/?http://www.robrichards.com/el_capitan.cfm?sr=85??Bibliographic References?Bailey, Adrian. Walt Disney’s World of Fantasy. ?New York Everest House Publishers, 1982.?

Honors

Academy Award Nominations for animated short films for “Noah’s Ark,” “A Symposium On Popular Songs” and “The Truth About Mother Goose,”
Inducted as a Disney Legend in 1996
Annie Award: Winsor McCay Award 2001

Related Links

http://legends.disney.go.com/legends/detail?key=Bill+Justice
http://www.laughingplace.com/
http://www.robrichards.com/el_capitan.cfm?sr=85

Bibliographic References

Bailey, Adrian. Walt Disney’s World of Fantasy.
New York Everest House Publishers, 1982.

BIO-AAA-199

Contributors To This Listing

Megan Dong

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