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Disney animator Mel Shaw expires at 97

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MUMBAI: Mel Shaw, an artist and writer who contributed to Disney animation classics such as Bambi, Fantasia and The Lion King expired on 22 November of congestive heart failure. He was 97.

Shaw was recruited by studio founder Walt Disney to join his team. Disney handed the artist a script for what would become 1942’s Bambi and said, "You like to draw animals; read this and see what you can do."

Shaw was involved with practically every sequence of the film. He used pastels that "talked about the sequences and how colors would change … to fit the mood," he said in Walt’s People, Volume 12, a collection of interviews with artists who worked with Disney that was published in August.

The Brooklyn native also did visual development or story work for the company on The Rescuers (1977), The Fox and the Hound (1981), The Black Cauldron (1985), The Great Mouse Detective (1986) and Beauty and the Beast (1991). He was named a Disney Legend in 1994.

Shaw left Disney to serve as a combat photographer for the Army Signal Corps during World War II. Later, he opened a design business with former MGM Studios animator Bob Allen, and their company did a redesign of the marionette Howdy Doody for NBC.

In 1974, Walt Disney Studios asked Shaw to return to help mentor the next generation of animators. His last project for the company was The Lion King (1994).

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