Former Disney Artist and Animator Ann Sullivan Dies from Covid-19 at age 91

You may not recognize her name, but if you’ve seen The Lion King or The Little Mermaid, you definitely recognize her work. According to the Hollywood Reporter, an animator who worked on those and many other films, Ann Sullivan, has died from COVID-19.

What’s Happening:

  • Longtime background painter and animator, Ann Sullivan has passed away at age 91 from complications due to COVID-19.
  • She resided at a retirement community in Woodland Hills, CA, part of the Motion Picture and Television Fund (MPTF). She is the third resident at this community to pass away from COVID-19 related causes.
  • Sullivan was originally from Fargo, North Dakota, moving to Southern California for her studies at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena.
  • Sullivan began working in the 1950s, working in the paint lab on Peter Pan. She left to start a family, including four children, before returning to work in the field for Hanna Barbera right before returning to work for Disney at the beginning of the Animation Renaissance, working in the paint lab on Oliver & Company and The Little Mermaid before becoming a painter on other films. The shorts The Prince and The Pauper and Runaway Brain, as well as features The Lion King, Pocahontas, Hercules, Tarzan, The Emperor’s New Groove, Fantasia 2000, Lilo and Stitch, Treasure Planet and Home On The Range have all contained Sullivan’s work.
  • Sullivan is survived by four children, eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

What They’re Saying:

MPTF Chaplain Dina Kuperstock: “She had the best laugh of any person I’ve ever known. Ann didn’t just laugh with a sound. When she giggled, her whole body would shake and light up with joy, and it was contagious for everyone in the room.”