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Biography

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Overview (3)

Date of Birth 24 March 1901Kansas City, Missouri, USA
Date of Death 7 July 1971Burbank, California, USA  (heart attack)
Birth NameUbbe Ert Iwwerks

Mini Bio (1)

Ub Iwerks worked as a commercial artist in Kansas City in 1919 when he met Walt Disney who was in the same profession. When Disney decided to form an animation company, Ub Iwerks was the first employee he had due to his skill at fast drawing as well as being a personal friend.

When Charles Mintz raided Disney's animation studio and stole the rights to their character Oswald the Rabbit, Ub was the only associate to remain with Disney. He served as the principle animator for the first Mickey Mouse shorts and Silly Symphonies. Iwerks was so prominent in the production of these shorts that it was speculated that Ub was the dominant force behind the success of Disney Productions. The combination of Iwerks' rising ambitions, occasional differences with Walt and a tempting deal with Pat Powers to finance his own studio prompted him to break away in 1930. His studio was never a tenth of the artistic or financial success that Disney was. He simply did not have the creative talents of his partner and his characters, Flip the Frog and Willy Whopper were rather dull failures. His studio was closed in 1936 when Powers withdrew his support. He worked for Columbia starting in 1938 and worked for two years until he decided to return to Disney. The two men never commented on their renewed relationship but the reunion was mutually beneficial. Iwerks was able to abandon animation and concentrate on technical development which helped create many of the special effects that the Disney company excelled in for decades, especially concerning the live action animation combination sequences in Song of the South (1946) and Mary Poppins (1964).

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Kenneth Chisholm <chisken@pop.eclec.com>

Spouse (1)

Mildred Sarah Henderson (5 January 1927 - 7 July 1971) (his death) (2 children)

Trivia (16)

Father of Don Iwerks.
He was honored as a Disney Legend in 1989.
Iwerks' unusual name is of Dutch origin.
He was known as the fastest animator in the business in early sound period. He animated Mickey's first short, Plane Crazy (1928) by himself in only two weeks (700 animation drawings a day!).
Father of Dave Iwerks. Grandfather of Leslie Iwerks.
Ub Iwerks widow, Mildred, died in 1992.
He co-created (with Walt Disney), designed, and animated the first version of Mickey Mouse in 1928.
In 1930, he left Disney to start his own animation studio. Among the creations of his own studio was the "Flip the Frog" series.
He developed new apparatuses and processes for the photography and optical compositing necessary to combine live-action and animated characters in films such as The Three Caballeros (1944), Song of the South (1946), and Mary Poppins (1964).
In addition to his skill as an animator, he became an expert in special visual effects. Outside of Disney, he did special effects work on such films as Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds (1963).
He was in charge of Research and Development at the Disney studio.
The sodium-vapor process, developed in England by the J. Arthur Rank Organization, was brought to the United States by Iwerks where he made further refinements.
He was regarded as a technical genius in the areas of animation and special visual effects. He never finished high school.
Walt Disney referred to him as "the greatest animator in the world."
Biography in: "American National Biography." Supplement 1, pp. 290-291. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.
The DC Comics supervillian Dr. U'bx was named in his honor.

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