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John D Wilson obituary

2 July 2013 2:25 AM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Innovative animator whose credits include Lady and the Tramp, Petroushka and Grease

The pioneering animator John David Wilson, who has died aged 93, launched his studio, Fine Arts Films, in 1955 and found success with his first short subject, an adaptation of a Japanese folk tale, Tara the Stonecutter, which was screened in America with Teinosuke Kinugasa's Oscar-winning samurai drama Jigokumon (Gate of Hell, 1953). Next came Petroushka (1956), for which Igor Stravinsky (despite negative feelings towards animation following Disney's Fantasia) was persuaded by Wilson to prepare a shortened score for the film and conduct the Los Angeles Philharmonic for the soundtrack. Petroushka won several festival awards and was the first animated film to be accepted by the Venice film festival.

Wilson's diverse productions ranged from innovative TV commercials for Instant Butter-Nut Coffee, made with the actor and humorist Stan Freberg, to a groundbreaking 15-minute film, Journey to the Stars, for the United »

- Brian Sibley

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