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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Les Clark
Leslie James Clark

(1907-11-17)November 17, 1907
DiedSeptember 12, 1979(1979-09-12) (aged 71)
Known forOne of Disney's Nine Old Men
Spouse(s)Miriam Lauritzen (m. ?; div. 1952)
Georgia Vester
(m. 1967)

Leslie James "Les" Clark (November 17, 1907 – September 12, 1979) was an American animator and the first of Disney's Nine Old Men. Joining Disney in 1927, he was the only one to work on the origins of Mickey Mouse with Ub Iwerks.

Early life

Les Clark was born in Ogden, Utah in 1907, the eldest of 12 children to James Clark, a carpenter,[1] and Lute Wadsworth.[2] By 1910, the family lived in Salt Lake City[1] and by 1920, they lived in Twin Falls, Idaho.[3] By 1930, they lived in Los Angeles,[4] where Les attended Venice High School. During high school, he worked a summer job at an ice cream shop near Walt Disney Studios in Hollywood. Walt and Roy Disney were frequent patrons at the shop, and Walt had once complimented Les on his lettering job of the menus. Eventually, Les got the courage to ask Walt for a job. He recalled Walt's reply:

...[Walt said] 'Bring some of your drawings in and let's see what they look like.' So, I copied some cartoons and showed them to Walt. He said I had a good line, and why don't I come to work on Monday.[5]

Les reported to the studio the Monday after he graduated high school for a temporary position in 1927.[6][5]

He and his wife Miriam had a son, Richard,[7] and a daughter, Miriam.

Career at Disney Studio

Les started work at the studio first as a camera operator and doing ink and paint on the animations. He moved on to work under the guidance of Ub Iwerks. During the development of the character Mickey Mouse, Clark was promoted to the position of inbetweener where he worked on a scene for the upcoming Steamboat Willie. Les was then promoted to animator and was tasked to work on the Silly Symphony The Skeleton Dance. After Ub Iwerks left Disney, Clark was given the position as lead animator on Mickey Mouse. He continued honing his craft, attending art classes while working at the studio. As he improved, he was given the task of animating the Seven Dwarfs in the upcoming film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. In particular, Clark worked on the scene where Snow White dances with each of the seven dwarfs. He would go on to animate the iconic Disney characters Pinocchio, Cinderella, Alice and Tinkerbell.[6]

Animation Style

Les Clark was known for his skill in timing his animation to musical scores, as well as his ability to convey emotion in his work.[6]


Les Clark died of cancer in Santa Barbara, California on September 12, 1979.

Complete filmography

Year Title Credits Characters
1927 Alice's Picnic Animator
Alice in the Big League Animator
Alice's Medicine Show Animator
Alice's Channel Swim Animator
Alice the Beach Nut Animator
Alice the Whaler Animator
Trolley Troubles Animator
All Wet Animator
1928 Poor Papa Animator
Steamboat Willie Animator
1929 El Terrible Toreador Animator
The Skeleton Dance Animator
The Plowboy Animator
Ozzie of the Mounted Animator
The Barn Dance Animator
1930 Winter Animator
Monkey Melodies Animator
Pioneer Days Animator
The Gorilla Mystery Animator
The Chain Gang Animator
The Fire Fighters Animator
Night Animator
Frolicking Fish Animator
Midnight in a Toy Shop Animator
Cannibal Capers Animator
Autumn Animator
Summer Animator
The Picnic Animator
Playful Pan Animator
1931 The Ugly Duckling Animator
Mother Goose Melodies Animator
The Barnyard Broadcast Animator
 The Delivery Boy Animator
Mickey Cuts Up Animator
The Moose Hunt Animator
The Castaway Animator
Traffic Troubles Animator
Blue Rhythm Animator
Birds of a Feather Animator
The Birthday Party Animator
1932 Flowers and Trees Animator
Just Dogs Animator
Mickey in Arabia Animator
Mickey's Good Deed Animator
Trader Mickey Animator
Mickey's Revue Animator
The Klondike Kid Animator
The Mail Pilot Animator
Mickey's Nightmare Animator
The Whoopee Party Animator
King Neptune Animator
Bugs in Love Animator
Babes in the Woods Animator
Santa's Workshop Animator
1933 The Mad Doctor Animator
Birds in the Spring  Animator
Mickey's Mellerdrammer Animator
The Steeplechase Animator
Building a Building Animator
Puppy Love Animator
Old King Cole Animator
Giantland Animator
The Night Before Christmas Animator
1934 The Grasshopper and the Ants Animator
Gulliver Mickey  Animator
The Goddess of Spring Animator
Camping Out Animator
The Dognapper Animator
Two-Gun Mickey Animator
1935 Music Land Animator
Mickey's Kangaroo Animator
The Band Concert Animator
The Tortoise and the Hare Animator
1936 The Country Cousin Animator
Mickey's Rival Animator
Mickey's Grand Opera Animator
Orphans' Picnic Animator
1937 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Animator Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Mickey's Amateurs Animator
Magician Mickey Animator
1938 Mickey's Parrot Animator
Brave Little Tailor Animator
1939 Society Dog Show Animator
The Practical Pig Animator
1940 Pinocchio Animator Pinocchio
Fantasia Animator
(Segments "The Nutcracker Suite" and "The Sorcerer's Apprentice")
Sugar Plum Fairies and Sorcerer Mickey Mouse
Mr. Duck Steps Out (Short) Animator
1941 Dumbo Animator Dumbo and Timothy Q. Mouse
The Little Whirlwind (Short) Animator
The Nifty Nineties (Short) Animator
1942 Bambi Animator
Der Fuehrer's Face Animator
Mickey's Birthday Party Animator
Out of the Frying Pan Into the Firing Line Animator
How to Play Baseball Animator
All Together Animator
1943 Saludos Amigos (Short) Animator
Victory Vehicles Animator
Private Pluto Animator
1944 The Three Caballeros Animator
(segment Aquarela do Brasil)
Trombone Trouble Animator
1945 Hockey Homicide Animator
1946 Make Mine Music Animator
(Segments: Casey at the Bat, The Martins and the Coys, Two Silhouettes, Johnny Fedora and Alice Blue Bonnet)
Song of the South Directing Animator
1947 Fun and Fancy Free Directing Animator Bongo, Lulubelle, Mickey Mouse, close up of Willie the Giant sleeping
1948 You Were Meant for Me Choreographer
Melody Time Directing Animator
(segments Blame It on the Samba, Bumble Boogie)
1949 So Dear to My Heart Animator
The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad Animator
1950 Cinderella Directing Animator Cinderella
1951 Plutopia (Short) Animator
Alice in Wonderland Directing Animator Alice
1952 The Little House (Short) Animator
1953 Peter Pan Directing Animator Peter Pan, Wendy Darling and Tinker Bell
Ben and Me (Short) Animator
1954 The Magical World of Disney (TV Series) Special Effects - 1 Episode
1955 Lady and the Tramp Directing Animator
You the Human Animal (Short) Director
Contrast in Rhythm (Short) Animator
1956 - 1958 The Magical World of Disney (TV Series) Animator - 3 Episodes
1958 Paul Bunyan[8] (Short) Director
1959 Sleeping Beauty Sequence Director
Donald in Mathmagic Land (Short) Sequence Director
1961 One Hundred and One Dalmatians Character Animator
Donald and the Wheel (Short) Animator
1961 - 1970 The Magical World of Disney (TV Series) Director - 3 Episodes (including Sequence Director: 1 Episode)
1962 A Symposium on Popular Songs (Short) Animator
1963 The Sword in the Stone Animator
1964 The Restless Sea (TV Movie Documentary) Director
1965 Freewayphobia #1 (Short) Director
Steel and America (Short) Director
Donald's Fire Survival Plan (Short) Director
Goofy's Freeway Troubles (Short) Director
1967 Family Planning (Short) Director
1968 The Mickey Mouse Anniversary Show Animator
1969 Physical Fitness and Good Health (Short) Director
The Social Side of Health (Short) Director
The Project (Short) Director
The Game (Short) Director
The Fight (Short) Director
Steps Towards Maturity and Health (Short) Director
1970 New Girl (Short) Director
Lunch Money (Short) Director
1973 VD Attack Plan (Short) Director
I'm No Fool with Electricity (Short) Director
 Robin Hood  Animator
1974 Man, Monsters and Mysteries (Short) Director
1977 The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh Animator
1980 Mickey Mouse Disco (Short) Animator
1984 DTV: Rock, Rhythm & Blues (Video) Animator
DTV: Pop & Rock (Video) Animator
DTV: Golden Oldies (Short) Animator
2000 Fantasia 2000 Animator (Segment "The Sorcerer's Apprentice") Sorcerer Mickey Mouse


  1. ^ a b 1910 United States Federal Census
  2. ^ Utah, Birth Certificates, 1903-1911
  3. ^ 1920 United States Federal Census
  4. ^ 1930 United States Federal Census
  5. ^ a b "Les Clark". D23. The Walt Disney Company. Retrieved December 31, 2020.
  6. ^ a b c "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-05-22. Retrieved 2017-04-08.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ 1940 United States Federal Census
  8. ^ Wolfe, Jennifer (2012-12-31). "Animator Lee Hartman Dies at 82". Animation World Network. Retrieved 2013-01-06.
  • Canemaker, John. (2001). Walt Disney's Nine Old Men and the Art of Animation. New York, NY: Disney Editions. ISBN 0-7868-6496-6

External links

This page was last edited on 14 May 2021, at 12:29
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