2021-10-16 05:23:02 UTC
By Margalit Fox. Oct. 12, 2021
If Snow White looked suitably snowy in “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” if Pinocchio’s nose grew at just the right rate, if Dumbo was the correct shade of elephantine gray, all that was due in part to the largely unheralded work of Ruthie Tompson.
One of a cadre of women who in the 1930s and ’40s worked at Disney in indispensable anonymity — and one of its longest-lived members — Ms. Tompson, who died on Sunday at 111, spent four decades at the studio. Over time, she worked on nearly every one of Disney’s animated features, from “Snow White” — Disney’s first, released in 1937 — to “The Rescuers,” released in 1977.
A Disney spokesman, Howard Green, said she died at the Motion Picture and Television Fund’s retirement community in Woodland Hills, Calif., where she had been a longtime resident.
Ms. Tompson joined Disney as an inker and painter. She later trained her eye on the thousands of drawings that make up an animated feature, checking them for continuity of color and line. Still later, as a member of the studio’s scene planning department, she devised exacting ways for its film cameras to bring those flat, static drawings to vivid animated life.
“She made the fantasies come real,” John Canemaker, an Oscar-winning animator and a historian of animation, said in an interview for this obituary in 2017. “The whole setup then was predigital, so everything was paper, camera, film and paint.”...