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Biography: Andreas Deja

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Birth: 1957, Gda?sk, Poland.


Character Animator, Character designer, Supervising Animator

Bio Summary

Deja has worked in Disney more than two decades. He was always a fan of Disney since he was little. He wanted to become an animator in Disney studio when he saw Jungle Book at 10 years old. Then he went to art school to study graphic design and human and animal drawing in German. While he was still in school, he had contacted with Eric Larson (who was a head of the training program in Disney) and sent some of his best drawing to Eric. Then Deja was invited to go to four weeks training cession in Disney and was hired to work in the studio in 1980. He has served as supervising animator for most memorable characters in Hollywood, like Roger Rabbit, King Triton, Gaston, Jafar, Hercules, Lilo, and Queen Narissa. He is the current resident specialist for the animation of Mickey Mouse and also working on a film The Princess and the Frog.

Early Life/Family

In Germany, Deja had always grown up with Disney and was exposed in Disney comics. When he was 10 years old, Jungle Book came out, He saw it and kept thinking he would like to work with great artists in the Disney studio in the future. Then he wrote to the studio and asked about how he can become a Disney animator and what training was involved. Then, he got nice letter back from the studio and they suggested him to go to art school to get solid academic art training and study human figure and animal study as well. The letter gave Deja a meaningful encouragement and helped him found the way to become a good animator.


Studied graphic design at the Folkwang-Schule in Essen, Germany

Career Outline

Deja jointed the Walt Disney studio in 1980. The first movie he worked on was The Black Cauldron, in which he designed a pig-keeper and animated a lot of the boy Tran and the Princess Eilonwy and Dallben. Then he re-did some of the animation of the Mouse Queen in The Great Mouse Detective. While he was worked for Oliver & Company, he was invited by Richard Williams to go to London for a year and assist with the animation Who Framed Roger Rabbit. After he came back to LA, his next film was The Little Mermaid and he animated the King Triton. Then the next film was on a Mickey short, The Prince and the Pauper Then he did several villain, like Gaston on Beauty and the Beast, Jafar in Aladdin, and Scar on The Lion King. Then he went to France again and worked on Mickey Mouse on the Runway Brain Project in Paris. Then he animated the title characters from the Hercules, Lilo & Stitch, and Queen Narissa from Enchanted. He is current resident specialist for the animation of Mickey Mouse. He is also working on an eccentric character in The Princess and the Frog and it will be released in 2009.

Comments On Style

He has very strong background and knowledge in the style of Disney characters. He does both villains and heroic characters in different projects and he always like to explore different characters possibility through his work.


Heinrich Klay, the German Illustrator form the 20’s and 30’s who drew for ‘St Putitimus’.
Classic Disney Animation, and more…



At the time Disney was working on The Little Mermaid, he one time asked the management if he could have a certain table, but they were not sure how to make of it. One evening after people were gone Deja walked around and he found Milt Kahl’s drawing table which was exactly the one he wanted. This was how he acquired Milt Kahl’s table and always inspired by Milt when he used it.


Once Deja knows the studio only keeps the clean up works in the Animation Research Library. Deja starts to collect a lot of
original works (rough drawings) either from art dealers or all over the place because they are treasures for him and he can learn so much from those original works by different animators.


The Black Cauldron (1985) (animator) (character designer)
—Taran and the Magic Cauldron
The Great Mouse Detective (1986) (character animator)
—Basil – The Great Mouse Detective (international: English title)
—Basil of Baker Street (UK)
—The Adventures of the Great Mouse Detective (USA: reissue title)
Oliver & Company (1988) (character designer)
Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988) (supervising animator: “Roger Rabbit”)
The Little Mermaid (1989) (character designer) (directing animator: “King Triton”)
The Prince and the Pauper (1990) (supervising animator)
—Mickey’s the Prince and the Pauper (USA: complete title)
Beauty and the Beast (1991) (supervising animator: “Gaston”)
—Beauty and the Beast: Special Edition (USA: longer version)
Aladdin (1992) (supervising animator: “Jafar”)
The Lion King (1994) (supervising animator: “Scar”)
—Rey leon, El (USA: Spanish title)
Runaway Brain (1995) (animation supervisor)
Hercules (1997) (supervising animator: “Adult Hercules”)
Fantasia/2000 (1999) (animator) (segment “Rhapsody in Blue”) (character animator: “Mickey Mouse”, host sequences)
—Fantasia 2000 (Philippines: English title) (USA: alternative spelling)
Lilo & Stitch (2002) (supervising animator: “Lilo”)
Home on the Range (2004) (animator: “Slim” and “Junior”)
Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas (2004) (V) (animation consultant)
Bambi II (2006) (animation consultant)
How to Hook Up Your Home Theater (2007) (animator)
Enchanted (2007) (animator)
The Princess and the Frog (2009) (supervising animator: “Mama Odie”)


Winsor McCay Annie Award 2006

Related Links

IGN: An Interview with Andreas Deja
The animator discusses his work on Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Lilo& Stitch by Ken P. (March 31, 2003)

Exclusive: Andreas Deja Talks the Animation of 101 Dalmatians (source by Brian Gallagher March 4th, 2008)’s Interview with Andreas Deja, legendary Disney animator and expert by Aaron Wallace (March 17, 2008)

Jim Hill chats with this noted Disney animator as he gets ready for “An Evening with Andreas Deja,” a fundraising event for the AISFA-Hollywood Animation Archive that will be held at Van Eaton Galleries tomorrow night (June 20, 2007)

Dalmatians 101” “Spotting” fun facts with Andreas Deja by Jeremie Noyer (March 6th, 2008)

IMDB-Andreas Deja (Filmography)

Bibliographic References

Contributors To This Listing
Enoch Allen

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