On this day in 2005, Disney Legend, artist and writer Joe Grant passed away at his home in California, just 9 days short of his 97th birthday.
Plucked by Walt Disney from The Los Angeles Record (where he was a regularly contributing caricaturist) Grant made his Disney debut as a character designer for the 1933 short Mickey's Gala Premier. This started a career that included creating the Queen for Snow White, co-writing the screenplay (along with Dick Huemer) for Dumbo, and helping with story & character development for Fantasia and Pinocchio. Grant also worked closely with conductor Leopold Stokowski in choosing the music for Fantasia.
Grant left Disney in 1949 to run a ceramics business and a greeting card business. Forty years later in 1989 he received an unexpected request from Walt Disney Feature Animation asking if he would consult on Beauty and the Beast. Grant agreed and as Creative Director at WDFA started a "second career" at Disney that included contributions to The Lion King, Aladdin, Mulan, Fantasia 2000 and Chicken Little. He even provided the tile name for Pixar's Monsters, Inc.
"One thing about Walt (Disney) was that he wasn't that difficult to know. He was a man full of ideas. You have to remember that he was an actor. He realized how important the word "casting" was. He knew the capabilities of everybody and he did a wonderful job of casting every picture that we made. Each person was suited to the particular job that they got." -Joe Grant
Discover more May 06 Disney history HERE.