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Ed Parks Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (1) | Trivia (4)

Overview (3)

Date of Birth 25 August 1915Waterbury, Connecticut, USA
Date of Death 31 January 1999Sonoma County, California, USA
Birth NameEdwin Rose Parks

Mini Bio (1)

Ed Parks was born to Edwin Rose Parks "the first" and Rosabel Mosley Parks of Waterbury, Connecticut. His father died in the 1919 flu epidemic, leaving Ed to be raised single-handedly by his mother, Rosabel (Rosa). He attended Driggs Grammar School in Waterbury, and developed an early talent for drawing, as well as an interest in aeronautics. He and his mother moved to Watertown when Ed was in Junior High, and he then attended Watertown High School (Connecticut). He was encouraged by his art teacher, H. Louise Johnson, to paint a mural in the High School basement gymnasium. The mural was an idealized history of the world, from the dinosaurs through present civilization. Around this time, he received his first freelance art job--drawing a small concept sketch for the patent papers of the very first Mickey Mouse watch, made by the Ingersoll Watch Company, of Waterbury. After high school, he attended Yale University Art School, with the idea of being a mural painter. During this time, he answered an ad posted on a bulletin board, "Disney Needs Artists." This soon led to his moving to California and a job at Disney, at the original Hyperion studio location, and then at the "new" (present) studio in Burbank. As did many animators, he began as an in-betweener, then as an assistant, and spent many years as an effects animator before moving into character animation on both features and many short subjects.

World War II saw him join the Navy, where he continued to work in animation on training films and ultimately top secret work for the Allied Invasion of Europe. During his time in the Navy, he met and married fellow Art & Animation Department Photographic Specialist Leah Bowlby. Following the War, the couple returned to California--(Leah is a California Native) Ed returning to Disney (Walt remarking, "Ed! When did you get back?!" and Ed replying, "I've been back for six weeks!"), and Leah finishing an education in Art at UCLA and becoming a high school art teacher until the birth of their son, Gary, in 1962.

Ed continued for Disney until 1960, with a half-year interlude circa 1956, where he was hand picked by Walt to go over to Paramount to work with Cecil B. DeMille as the effects animator for "The Ten Commandments." The Pillar of Fire, though not originally designed by Ed, was reworked by him, and its style and final look bears his hallmark. After this, he returned to Disney--with his final most distinct artistic flourish for the company being the design for the unique yellow smoke curling out of Cruella DeVil's cigarette in 101 Dalmatians.

Due to an opportunity for higher pay and more creative freedom, Ed left Disney and joined Hanna Barbara, remaining there until his retirement from animation in 1978. A feature film for which he did extensive animation is Charlotte's Web, probably his favorite project with Hanna Barbara, along with the much earlier Johnny Quest TV series. Another show which bears a large amount of his work is Scooby Doo, for its first couple of seasonal incarnations. Others of lesser renown include Hong Kong Phooey, the Great Grape Ape, Speed Buggy, Jeannie, and Wait 'Til Your Father Gets Home.

Between his retirement from animation in 1978 and his passing in 1999, Ed painted and sold oil and acrylic paintings through local art galleries, taught painting privately, revived his interest in aeronautics with designing and building model airplanes, and spent time with his family. He is memorialized by a military style plaque on the Veterans Wall at Pleasent Hills Memorial Park in Sebastopol, California. His son, Gary, still has Ed's 1941 Disney animation desk (in use as a drawing desk) to this day.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Gary Lee Parks ptahhotep1@aol.com

Spouse (1)

Leah Parks (13 November 1943 - 31 January 1999) (his death) (1 child)

Trivia (4)

(1938-1976) Animator for Disney, Animation Productions, Hanna-Barbera
Son: Gary Lee Parks. Born 1962. Employed as visual artist (illustration, painting, stained and etched glass designer), also voice talent (singer, voiceover).
Wife: Leah Elizabeth Bowlby Parks. Born 1922. Artist (painter, art teacher, singer).
The Disney short, "Tennis Racquet" featuring Goofy, contains a practical joke, of which Ed Parks was the object. At the very end, when the camera irises-out on victorious Goofy holding his silver cup, one can clearly see "Edwin Parks Trophy" inscribed on it. Such an inside gag was typical of pranks played among the Disney creative staff.

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