Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (1) | Trade Mark (1)

Overview (3)

Born in Yonkers, New York, USA
Died in Flanders, Connecticut, USA
Birth NameVladimir Tytla

Mini Bio (1)

Often cited as one of the greatest animators of all time, Vladimir 'Bill' Tytla was born of Ukrainian immigrant parentage in Yonkers, New York, in October 1904. His close-knit family strongly supported his artistic inclinations. By the tender age of nine he had become set on his course after attending a screening of Gertie the Dinosaur (1914) (a creation by America's first successful pioneer animator, Winsor McCay, filmed for use in his vaudeville act). Emotionally volatile and prone to truancy, Tytla studied briefly at the New York Evening School of Industrial Design but yearned for work in his chosen field. In 1920, he was hired to write title cards for Paramount animations, at six days a week for $1.50 a day. His prodigious output earned him the nickname "Tytla the Titler". His first gigs as animator were on Mutt & Jeff cartoons for the Barré-Bowers Studio in the Bronx and for Paul Terry in Greenwich Village, bringing to life 'Aesop's Fables'. Dissatisfied with the poor standard of animation at 'Terrytoons', Tytla traveled abroad in 1928 and spent eighteen months in Europe touring countless museums and galleries and attending art classes. He studied sculpture (under the French master Charles Despiau) and painting (significantly influenced by the works of Dutch renaissance artist Pieter Bruegel the Elder). He returned to New York with more strings to his bow and immediately slotted in to his old job as a more accomplished and sophisticated animator. A colleague, Art Babbitt, became one of his closest friends. When Babbitt joined the Disney Organisation in 1932, he urged Tytla to follow. Two years later, Tytla traded in his job security at 'Terrytoons', moved to the West Coast to join Disney as a bona fide animator, albeit at a reduced salary. Before long, Tytla gained a reputation as one of the fastest and best draftsmen in the business. Over time, he acquired a new, rather more complimentary, sobriquet as "The Michelangelo of Animation".

One of Tytla's great strengths was an intuitive flair for character animation and for imbuing his creations with feeling. There was also a three dimensional quality to his work, very much the product of his new-found expertise in sculpture. As chief animator of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), he created both Doc and Grumpy. He also brought to life the villainous puppet master Stromboli in Pinocchio (1940), the monstrous demon Chernabog in Fantasia (1940), the delightful Jose Carioca and Pedro the Mail Plane in Saludos Amigos (1942), and, perhaps most memorably, the baby elephant Dumbo (1941) (plus his assorted fellow pachyderms). Had it not been for joining a strike action (led by his friend Babbitt) by 300 members of the Cartoonists Guild in support of better wages and film credits for assistants and production staff, Tytla may have seen out his career at Disney. As it turned out, the strike led to bitter acrimony between management and union supporters. Babbitt was fired in 1941, having incurred Walt Disney's lasting wrath. Following a lengthy legal case, he was briefly reinstated for a year. Like Babbitt, Tytla began to feel uncomfortable in this divisive environment and left the company in 1943. He was later to regret that decision. Back at his old stomping grounds at 'Terrytoons' and Paramount, he became more and more dissatisfied with modernist trends and methodologies in animation, plus lower-than-ever standards. This added to the law of diminishing returns in his own work. By the 1950's, Tytla was working on television commercials for Tempo Productions in New York's 'Animation Alley'. He briefly headed his own production company by the end of the decade, but business acumen had never been his forte and the venture failed. The last few years of his life were marred by ill-health, including blindness in his left eye. He died on his Connecticut dairy farm in December 1968. Tytla's contributions to animation were indelible. In his own words, the key ingredient being "the feeling and vitality you get into the work".

- IMDb Mini Biography By: I.S.Mowis

Spouse (1)

Adrienne le Clerc (21 April 1938 - 1976)

Trade Mark (1)

Often animated physically-imposing, powerful characters (Stromboli in Pinocchio (1940), The Giant in _The Brave Little Tailor_, Chernabog and Yen Sid in Fantasia (1940))

See also

Other Works | Publicity Listings | Official Sites | Contact Info

Contribute to This Page