Disney illustrator, Mary Blair, honored by Google

Ane Howard · October 21, 2011 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/2084

Artist would have turned 100 today; She's best known for "It's a Small World" boat ride

If you logged onto Google this morning, you probably had a double take and asked: "Hmm. Nice image. Who is that?"

Mary Blair, one of Walt Disney favorite illustrator and the only  woman in a elite group of nine animators, is being honored Friday by Google's doodle.  Blair who died at the age of 66 in 1978, was born in Oklahoma on October  21,1911. She would have turned 100 today. Google's doodle inspired by her style shows Blair pensively sketching one of her loosely cubist-influenced drawing on her pad.

Blair was married to Lee Everett Blair, another animator.  He first joined the Disney studio in the late 30's. In 1940 she joined him at Disney and also started illustrating. Hardly a year later she was asked to work on "Dumbo". Blair remained at Disney's studio as an animator, art director, art supervisor and muralist for more than 20 years.

In 1941, both her and her husband were invited on an exploratory trip to various South American countries by Disney.  Influenced by what they saw in South America, the husband and wife team drew inspiration and worked on concept art for the colored-saturated Technicolor-animated films "Saludos Amigos" (1942) and 1944's "The Three Caballeros," for which Mary Blair received credit as art supervisor. 

But she is best known for the 1950's animated "Cinderella," 1951's "Alice in Wonderland" and 1953's "Peter Pan."  Disney was so taken by her style that he asked to design the Fantasyland boat ride "It's a Small World." This Disney's attraction debuted  at the 1964 New York World's Fair, and is probably the most famous ride.  It has since been reproduced in all of Disney's theme parks, and is truly a landmark at Disney's parks.

Google is not alone in honoring  Blair this week.  The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences recognized her great talent this week with a series of lecture "Mary Blair's World of Color — A Centennial Tribute"  at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater. Contemporary animators who spoke in her honor included Pete Docter, who directed the 2009 Oscar winner "Up" as well as 2001's "Monsters, Inc.; Giaimo; Eric Goldberg, supervising animator for the Genie in 1992's "Aladdin" and director of "Pocahontas"; his wife, Susan Goldberg, who was the art director for "Rhapsody in Blue" and "Carnival of Animals" sequences in "Fantasia/2000"; and Daisuke "Dice" Tsutsumi, art director on 2010's Oscar-winning "Toy Story 3." 

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Ane Howard

I am a social journalist covering technology innovations and the founder of RushPRNews.com, an international newswire.

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