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Burny Mattinson: A Legendary Career

Updated: Aug 22, 2023


It saddens me to report to you, my fellow DisNeteers, that the amazing American animator Burny Mattinson passed away on February 27th, 2023. The following attempts to celebrate Mattinson's work and legacy at Disney by informing others of the many films he impacted.

Mattinson was the longest-serving employee of The Walt Disney Company, starting back in 1953. A career that went almost 70 years.

During that time, Mattinson held many positions at Walt Disney Animation Studios over his long career. These included the roles of animator, director, producer and story artist for Walt Disney Animation Studios. In fact, back in 2008, Mattinson was inducted into the Disney Legends program (see: "Walt Disney Legends: Burny Mattinson").

Early in his career, Mattinson worked on some great films:

The Lady and the Tramp (1955)

Sleeping Beauty (1959)

One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961)

Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color television series (1961-1969)

The Sword in the Stone (1963)

The Jungle Book (1967)

The Aristocats (1970)

Robin Hood (1973)

Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too (1974)

The Rescuers (1977)

The Fox and the Hound (1981)

Mickey's Christmas Carol (1983)

The Black Cauldron (1985)

The Great Mouse Detective (1986)

The Brave Little Toaster (1987)

Many Disney scholars will have intimately worked with the projects that Mattinson worked on with The Walt Disney Company.

In fact, Mattinson returned Mickey Mouse to the silver screen for the first time in 30 years with Mickey's Christmas Carol (1983) (Noyer, 2011)

Disney's own news release, entitled "Remembering Disney Legend Burny Mattinson" (2023), has a lovely quote by legendary animator Eric Goldberg:

"Burny was the Renaissance man of Disney Animation,” said legendary Disney animator Eric Goldberg, a close friend and colleague of Mattinson’s. “He literally did everything that could be done at the studio—assistant animator, animator, story artist, producer, and director of many films that made an indelible mark on our collective appreciation of the Disney ethos [...] Burny was low-key, charming, inventive, and superbly gifted as a draftsperson and a storyteller. His storyboards were beautifully acted and wonderfully atmospheric, which I first encountered when I joined the studio for Aladdin. The more I saw of his work, the more I became in awe of his breadth of talent. I value his cheerful friendship and lasting inspiration to me and so many other animation artists. He will be missed, but not forgotten”

Goldberg credits Mattinson as being the reason for Disney's famous Renaissance period (1989-1999). Mattinson's legacy and his impact on the Disney Renaissance period (1989-1999) can be seen in the many films Mattinson worked on:

The Prince and the Pauper (1990)

Beauty and the Beast (1991)

Aladdin (1992)

The Lion King (1994)

Pocahontas (1995)

The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996)

Mulan (1998)

Tarzan (1999)

How to Hook up Your Home Theater (2007)

Tinker Bell (2008)

Winnie the Pooh (2011)

Big Hero 6 (2014)

Ralph Breaks the Internet (2018)

Strange World (2022)

Mattinson was one of the few animators at Disney who interacted and worked with the Nine Old Men - the nine core animators of Disney Productions - and was trained by them (Stahl, 2003; "Remembering Disney," 2023).

Mattinson's career and impact will live on in his works, and as Disney scholars, we will continue to respect and enjoy the films and shorts he aided in producing for years to come.

For more on Burny Mattinson, his life, and his legacy, please see the release on Disney's website here.

(If you wish to say more about Burny Mattinson and his legacy, please reach out to



Noyer, Jérémie. "Winnie the Pooh and Burny, too: a chat with animation legend Burny Mattinson." Animated Views online. October 22, 2011.

"Remembering Disney Legend Burny Mattinson." The Walt Disney Company online. February 27, 2023.

Stahl, Scarlet. "Legacy Content: An Interview with Burny Mattinson." The Laughing Place online. January 8, 2003.

"Walt Disney Legend: Burny Mattinson." D23 online. Accessed February 27, 2023.


All images are owned by The Walt Disney Corporation.

Fig. 1: Burny Mattinson, by D23, 3 December 2020:

Fig. 2: Robin Hood (1973) Movie Poster, by The Walt Disney Corporation:

Fig. 3: Strange World (2022), by The Walt Disney Corporation:


But wait! There's MORE!

If you love all things Disney, if you had a presentation that you would love to see written down (and citable) come out into the world, email Bee! Check out our Want to Write for DisNet post.

(Bee's email is also



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