Known for movies

Short Info

DiedFebruary 5, 2004, Burbank, California, United States
SpouseLowry Hench
FactGiven lifetime achievement award by the Themed Entertainment Association (THEA) [September 1998]

John Hench was born on February 8, 1908 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. His parents were John and Anna (nee Zeller) Hench. He had four siblings: three brothers and one sister. His early education was at St. Patrick’s Catholic School and Washington High School, both in Cedar Rapids. He then attended Coe College, also in Cedar Rapids, from which he graduated in 1930 with a degree in art.

Hench’s career began at Walt Disney Productions, where he started as an in-betweener on the animated feature “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” (1937). He later became an animator and storyboard artist, working on such classics as “Pinocchio” (1940), “Fantasia” (1940), “Dumbo” (1941), and “Bambi” (1942). He also worked on the live-action/animated features “Song of the South” (1946) and “Mary Poppins” (1964). In addition to his work on features, Hench also worked on a number of Disney’s short subjects, including “The Three Caballeros” (1945), “The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad” (1949), and “The Reluctant Dragon” (1941).

Hench’s career at Disney spanned more than five decades. He retired from the company in 1981, but continued to work as a freelance artist until his death in 2002.

During his time at Disney, Hench also taught at the California Institute of the Arts, where he was one of the founding faculty members. He also wrote a number of books on art and animation, including “Drawing Lessons from the Great Masters” (1948) and “Animated Motion” (1972).

Hench was married to Edna Mae Babbitt from 1934 until her death in 1966. The couple had two children: John Jr. and Carolyn. Hench later married Alice Davis in 1967. The couple remained married until Hench’s death in 2002.

Hench was a tall man, standing 6 feet 4 inches (1.93 m) tall. He had blue eyes and brown hair.

General Info

Full NameJohn Hench
DiedFebruary 5, 2004, Burbank, California, United States
ProfessionArtist, Writer, Editor
EducationSan Francisco Art Institute


SpouseLowry Hench



Social profile links


1He grew up in southern California, and studied at the California School of Fine Arts.
2At Disney, he started out as a sketch artist on "Fantasia", later moving on to story editing, layout, and special effects for "Peter Pan" and "Cinderella".
3In 1946, surrealist Salvador Dali agreed to collaborate with Disney on a cartoon. Disney assigned Hench to the project. Since Dali spoke no English at the time, he and Hench conversed in French. The unfinished six-minute cartoon was shelved until the 1990s, when the Disney studios decided to finish the project. Hench helped complete the cartoon, "Destino". It premiered at the 2003 New York Film Festival.
4Was the official portrait painter of Mickey Mouse.
5Given lifetime achievement award by the Themed Entertainment Association (THEA) [September 1998]
6Named a "Disney Legend"; besides his film work, he did a lot of architectural design for the theme parks and hotels. [1990]


Animation Department

Clair de Lune2000Short background artist
Walt Disney's Wonderful World of ColorTV Series animation art styling - 1 episode, 1957 layout artist - 1 episode, 1955
The Alaskan Eskimo1953Documentary short animator
Peter Pan1953color and styling
Alice in Wonderland1951color and styling
Cinderella1950color and styling
The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad1949color and styling
So Dear to My Heart1948cartoon art treatment
Melody Time1948layout artist - uncredited
Fun & Fancy Free1947layout
Blue Bayou1946Short background artist
The Whale Who Wanted to Sing at the Met1946Short layout artist
The Three Caballeros1944layout artist
Fantasia1940background artist - segments "Toccata and Fugue in D Minor", "The Nutcracker Suite"

Visual Effects

Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color1957TV Series animation effects - 1 episode
The Living Desert1953Documentary animation effects
Prowlers of the Everglades1953Documentary short animation effects
Water Birds1952Documentary short animation effects
The Olympic Elk1952Documentary short animation effects
Nature's Half Acre1951Documentary short animation effects

Art Department

Donald in Mathmagic Land1959Short styling
Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color1955TV Series special art work - 1 episode
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea1954production illustrator - uncredited
Make Mine Music1946art supervisor

Special Effects

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea1954special effects
Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color1954TV Series special effects - 1 episode


Destino2003Short story


A Conversation with John Hench2004Video documentary short special thanks
The Making of '20000 Leagues Under the Sea'2003Video documentary special thanks
Walt: The Man Behind the Myth2001TV Movie documentary grateful acknowledgment


A Conversation with John Hench2004Video documentary shortHimself
The Making of '20000 Leagues Under the Sea'2003Video documentaryHimself - Senior Vice President, Creative Department
Walt: The Man Behind the Myth2001TV Movie documentaryHimself
The Hand Behind the Mouse: The Ub Iwerks Story1999DocumentaryHimself
The Wonderful World of Disney: 40 Years of Television Magic1994TV Movie documentaryHimself
The Disney Family Album1984TV Series documentaryHimself
Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color1964-1965TV SeriesHimself

Archive Footage

Dali & Disney: A Date with Destino2010Video documentaryHimself
Disneyland: Secrets, Stories, & Magic2007Video documentaryHimself - Former Chief Creative Executive, Walt Disney Imagineering


Won Awards

2004Winsor McCay AwardAnnie Awards

Source: IMDb, Wikipedia

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