When we interviewed Disney animator Floyd Norman I could see the passion he still has for his work even after all these years. I have had the opportunity to interview so many amazing celebrities but this was one of my absolute favorite interviews so far. It was so interesting listening to Mr. Norman talk about his work and how much he loved working for Disney. He is known for his work on The Jungle Book (1967), Monsters, Inc. (2001), Toy Story 2 (1999), The Smurfs (1981) and 101 Dalmatians.
After graduating from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena he was hired by Walt Disney Animation Studios as an apprentice. Walt Disney knew he was talked so after working as an apprentice for less than a year they hired him on as a full time animator. He went right to work on sketching the cartoons for such shows as Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and the Disneyland TV Show. In 1956, Floyd was the first African American animator at the Disney studios.
Here’s a look around the entrance at Walt Disney Studios:
“This was like joining the Marine Corps of animation. If you made it at Disney, you could make it anywhere.”
– Floyd Norman
Floyd actually retired in 2000 after working on Monsters, Inc. He wasn’t away for long! He now works as a storyboard artist, and is a freelance consultant for the Walt Disney Co. on various projects at age 78. At the 2002 Annie Awards, he won the Winsor McCay Award, a lifetime-achievement honor from the International Animated Film Society. He was named a Disney Legend in 2007. It honors people who have made an extraordinary and integral contribution to The Walt Disney Company.
Floyd said his favorite film to work on was The Jungle Book, “That is the only film I worked with Walt Disney which makes that a very special motion picture. Walt passed away after the completion of that film. So we never worked together again.” According to Floyd, Walt Disney was a very nice and patient man that wanted everyone to call him by his first name.
During our interview Floyd actually showed us his animation skills in action. He even drew the famous Mickey Mouse, among other characters such as ! The skill he has is unbelievable. In just seconds he had drawn Mickey in front of our very eyes. It was so amazing!
Floyd Norman drawing Mickey Mouse:
Floyd Norman drawing Donald Duck:
Donald Duck by Flloyd Norman #101Dalmatians #IntoTheWoodsEvent A video posted by Melanie Kampman (@giveawaybandit) on
Floyd Norman drawing Pongo from 101 Dalmatians:
Pongo of #101Dalmatians #IntoTheWoodsEvent by Disney Animator Flloyd Norman A video posted by Melanie Kampman (@giveawaybandit) on
Of course, we couldn’t leave with our stuffed 101 Dalmatians puppy. I had Floyd Norman sign it for me too!
Be sure you check out the new 101 Dalmatians on Blu-Ray and Digital HD! It’s a classic to always have on hand! I’m sure you probably even have the VHS like we do from when we were kids! Available for purchase now or go online and purchase it:
101 Dalmatians: Diamond Edition (2-Disc Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD)