Disney Legend Burny Mattinson, a Disney Veteran who spent 70 years working in the magic of Walt Disney Animation Studios, passed away today. February 27, at age 87. Disney studio’s longest-serving employee, Mattinson made his debut as an in-betweener on Lady and the Tramp (1955).

Burny passed away at the Canyon Oaks Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Canoga Park, California. He was still working full time as a story consultant and studio mentor at Disney during the time of his passing. A ceremony to honor the animator with the studio’s first-ever 70th anniversary service award was scheduled for June 4.

I had the honor of meeting Burny during my tour with Don Bluth at the Disney studios. I got to be a fly on the wall while these two legends recapped their experiences working for Walt himself. He will be missed dearly.

“I mean, 50 years is a long time, but I still feel like that 18-year-old kid that came here back in ’53, you know? I never feel like I’ve gotten old.”

— Burny Mattinson on marking 50 years at Disney.

From the Left: Burny Mattinson, Steve Anderson, Don Bluth, Lavalle Lee, Howard Green
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The Author

Lavalle Lee

Lavalle Lee

Lavalle Lee has been creating animated cartoons online since 1999/2000 for his website flashcartoons.org. Many cartoons on the site have gained viral video status reaching millions of viewers online. In 2009, Lavalle started learning hand drawn animation from Don Bluth in his animation classes, as well as attending his Masterclasses in Arizona. He has also personally studied animation and visual effects from Veteran Disney animators in Orlando, FL.

Lavalle is widely known in the animation industry as the creator of the TraditionalAnimation.com website. After seeing that most animation sites were about all types of animation, not any specific to classical hand drawn animation, Lavalle knew Traditional Animation needed to be represented online. TraditionalAnimation.com has become the leading website and social media account for all things 2D. The website served as inspiration for “The Traditional Animation Show” in which Lavalle was both producer and host.

His partnership with Don Bluth began when he championed the Dragon's Lair Indiegogo campaign as lead project manager, editor, voice actor and in-betweener. The campaign reached $730,000 dollars to produce a 7-minute pitch video. In 2017, Lavalle brought the idea of creating a school to Don Bluth, and Don Bluth University was born. After a decade of learning from Don Bluth and working together on multiple pitches and business ventures, Lavalle accepted the position as Vice President of Don Bluth's new company Don Bluth Studios.

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