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Thursday, December 15, 2005

KAHL, Milt

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Birth: March 22, 1909, in San Francisco, California, USA,
Death: April 19, 1987, in Mill Valley, California, USA


Animator, One of Walt Disney's “Nine Old Men”

Bio Summary

Kahl left high school early to pursue work in as a magazine illustrator/cartoonist. He attended local art schools and studied under local artists while working for the Oakland Post Enquirer, and then the San Francisco Bulletin. After these jobs at the local magazine and newspaper companies he decided to start his own art business, which did not fair well due to the Great Depression. During these hard times he saw the Disney animated short, “Three Little Pigs” and was inspired to move into animation. He worked for nearly forty years for Disney Studios but when Walt Disney died in 1966 and the studio became engulfed in politics was when he started to lose his dedication to the company. In 1976 he gave notice to the CEO of Disney, Ron Miller, that he would be leaving for good. He returned home to Northern California to enjoy other interests, such as sculpting.

Early Life/Family


Left high school early to pursue his dream. Studied under local artists and at local schools. Once he became an assistant animator for Disney he refined the ideas of Bill Peet with the ideas of Ken Anderson and gained further experience.

Career Outline

After his work in the magazine and newspaper industry as an illustrator/cartoonist he started his own art business which didn’t do very well, but after watching an animated clip he pursued animation. In June 1934 Kahl applied to Disney Studios and was hired to work as an assistant animator. He contributed to numerous animated shorts such as “Lonesome Ghosts,” Mickey’s Circus,” and “The Ugly Duckling.” Continuing his work at the studio he rose in rank and worked on many different projects. These include “Melody Time,” The adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad,” “Cinderella,” “The Lady and the Tramp,” 101 Dalmations,” “The Jungle Book,” and “The Rescuers.” For further work and credits please look below at filmography.

Comments On Style

Very meticulous and focused. Floyd Norman states that Kahl would sit silently for hours without making a single drawing, but suddenly he would put out pages of finished work, and when they looked in his waste basket they would never find a single drawing. Some say he has never had a bad drawing. He was also humble in his talent. While Kahl was working on “The Sword in the Stone” the director of the film Woolie Reitherman, commented on his drawings of Merlin and Madam Medusa by saying, “These things look so beautiful, they could hang in a museum” but Kahl simple said, “aw…you’re full of it!”


Inspired by Ronald Searle and Picasso. When he saw “The Three Little Pigs” he was influenced heavily and was very interested in where animation would lead him.


Humble, yet demanding in all that he does. Motivated and true to his beliefs.


• Woolie Reitherman: “These things look so beautiful, they could hang in a museum”
• Kahl: “Aw…You’re full of it!”



1937 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Animator
1940 Pinocchio ,Animator
1942 Bambi Animator
1945 The Three Caballeros, Animator
1946 Song of the South, Animator
1946 Make Mine Music, Animator
1948 So Dear to My Heart, Animator
1951 Alice in Wonderland, Animator
1953 Peter Pan, Animation Director
1955 Lady and the Tramp, Animator
1957 Disneyland: Disneyland, the Park, and Pecos Bill Animator
1961 101 Dalmatians Animator
1963 The Sword in the Stone, Animator
1964 Mary Poppins, Animator
1967 The Jungle Book, Animator
1970 The Aristocats, Director
1970 The Aristocats, Animator
1973 Robin Hood, Animator
1977 The Rescuers, Director
1977 The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Animator
1977 The Rescuers, Animator


Annie Award: Winsor McCay Award 1977

Related Links

Story: The Greatest Cartoon Writer Of All Time
About The ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive Pt 3
Biography: Clair Weeks' Goodbye Book 1952
Story: The Greatest Cartoon Writer Of All Time

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