Glen Keane (born April 13, 1954) is an American animator, author and illustrator. Keane is best known for his character animation at Walt Disney Animation Studios for feature films including The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Pocahontas, Tarzan and Tangled. Keane received the 1992 Annie Award for character animation, the 2007 Winsor McCay Award for lifetime contribution to the field of animation and in 2013 was named a Disney Legend.

Early life

Keane was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of cartoonist Bil Keane, creator of the The Family Circus, and Australian-born Thelma "Thel" Carne Keane. He was raised in Paradise Valley, Arizona.[3]

Keane's interest in art developed as a child by observing his father's work as a cartoonist.[4] (Glen's younger self is represented in his father's comic strip as the character of "Billy"). In his early attempts to draw, his father gave him a copy of Burne Hogarth's Dynamic Anatomy, and instructed him to analyse the body forms and the creative approach to life drawing. After graduating from high school at Brophy College Preparatory, Keane applied to the California Institute of the Arts-School of Art, opting out of accepting a football scholarship from another college. His application was accidentally sent to the Program in Experimental Animation (then called Film Graphics), where he was mentored under teacher Jules Engel.[4]

Career

Keane left CalArts in 1974 and joined Disney the same year. His debut work, which was created over a 3-year period, was featured in The Rescuers, for which he was an animator for the characters of Bernard and Penny, alongside the famed Ollie Johnston. In 1975, throughout the production of his debut film, Keane married Linda Hesselroth, and they're the parents of design artist Claire Keane, and computer graphics artist Max Keane.

After The Rescuers was completed, Keane went on to animate Elliott the Dragon in Pete's Dragon. Keane additionally animated the climactic bear showdown in The Fox and the Hound. In 1982, after being inspired by the groundbreaking film Tron, Keane collaborated with fellow animator John Lasseter (Toy Story, Toy Story 2) on a 30-second test scene of Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are, which was optioned for them by Disney executive Tom Wilhite. The test integrated traditional character animation and computer-generated backgrounds ( on YouTube), and, like Tron, was a cooperation with MAGI. It was additionally Disney's first experimentation with digital inked and painted characters.[5] But, the project turned out to be too expensive, and the studio was unwilling to invest further in the planned featurette. The test for Where the Wild Things Are was revolutionary for its time, and a predecessor to the famous ballroom scene in Beauty and the Beast.

In 1983, Keane left Disney as a contracted employee and worked as a freelance artist.[4] During this time, he worked on the character of Professor Ratigan in Disney's The Great Mouse Detective. He additionally served as an animator on The Chipmunk Adventure where he did the sequences of "Boys and Girls of Rock n' Roll" and "Getting Lucky". He returned to Disney to work on the characters of Fagin, Sykes and Georgette for Oliver & Company. Keane rose to lead character animator, fitting one of the group of young animators who were trained by and succeeded "Disney's Nine Old Men". Keane animated a few of Disney's most memorable characters in what has been referred to as the "New "Golden Age" of Disney Animation. Keane designed and animated the character of Ariel in the film The Little Mermaid (1989), then the eagle Marahute in The Rescuers Down Under. Subsequently, Keane worked as the supervising animator on the title characters for three Disney hit features: Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and Pocahontas.

While living with his family in Paris, France for three years, Keane completed work on Disney's 1999 Tarzan for which he drew the eponymous character. Keane then returned to Disney's Burbank studio as the lead animator for John Silver in Treasure Planet. In 2003, Keane began work as the director of Disney's CGI animated film Tangled (based on the Brothers Grimm storey Rapunzel), which released in November 2010. In Tangled, Glen and his team hoped to bring the unique style and warmth of traditional animation to computer animation. In October 2008, due to a few "non-life threatening health issues", Keane stepped back as director of Tangled, but remained the film's executive producer and an animating director.[6]

On March 23, 2012, having worked approximately 37 years at Disney, Glen Keane left Walt Disney Animation Studios. Keane said in a letter sent to his co-workers, “I owe so much to those great animators who mentored me – Eric Larson, Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston – as well as to the a large number of additional wonderful people at Disney whom I have been fortunate to work with in the past nearly 38 years. I'm convinced that animation really is the ultimate form of our time with endless new territories to explore. I can’t resist its siren call to step out and discover them.”[7]

In December 2013, it was announced that he had joined Motorola's Advanced Technology and Projects Group and is cooperating with its engineers to create interactive hand-drawn animation.[8][9] Keane released his first animated short- Duet- at the Google I/O Conference in San Francisco on June 25, 2014. It is the first hand-drawn cartoon made with 60 fps,[3] and the third in a series of shorts called the Spotlight Stories that are designed to explore spatial awareness and the sensory inputs of a mobile device to create a distinctive storytelling experience.[3]

Motorola was a subsidiary of Google when Keane joined. When Google sold Motorola in 2014 early, his group remained with Google.[3]

In 2015, it was revealed he, and 16 additional top artists and filmmakers, had been hired by the Paris Opera to work on their third Stage project. Glen Keane is the creator of the animated short called Nephtali, a reference to Jacob’s blessings and Psalm 42, and made in a choreography with ballet dancer Marion Barbeau.[3]

In addition to his work as an animator, Keane is the author and illustrator of a series of children's Bible parable books featuring Adam Raccoon and King Aren the Lion.

Filmography

YearTitleCreditsCharactersNotes
1973My Favorite MartiansLayout ArtistTV series by Filmation
Star Trek: The Animated SeriesLayout ArtistTV series by Filmation
Lassie's Rescue RangersLayout ArtistTV series by Filmation
Mission: Magic!Layout ArtistTV series by Filmation
1977The RescuersCharacter Animator
Pete's DragonCharacter AnimatorElliott the Dragon
1979Banjo the Woodpile Cat (TV Short)Sound: Truck - Uncredited
A Family Circus Christmas (TV Movie short)Animator / Models
1981The Fox and the HoundSupervising Animator
1983Mickey's Christmas CarolAnimator
1985The Black CauldronCharacter AnimatorGurgi and Princess Eilonwy
1986The Great Mouse DetectiveSupervising AnimatorProfessor Ratigan
1987The Chipmunk AdventureAnimator / Storyboard Artist
The Brave Little ToasterCharacter Designer / Developmental Animator / Directing Animator
1988Oliver & CompanyCharacter Designer / Supervising AnimatorSykes, Georgette, Fagin, and Jenny Foxworth
1989The Little MermaidCharacter Designer / Supervising AnimatorAriel
1990The Rescuers Down UnderStoryboard Artist / Supervising Animator / Character Designer / Visual DevelopmentMarahute
1991Beauty and the BeastSupervising AnimatorBeast
1992AladdinSupervising AnimatorAladdin
1995PocahontasStory / Supervising Animator / Visual Development / Character DesignerPocahontas
1999TarzanStory / Supervising AnimatorTarzan
2002Treasure PlanetSupervising AnimatorJohn Silver
2003Mickey's PhilharMagic (Short)AnimatorAriel
2010TangledExecutive Producer / Animation Supervisor / Character DesignerRapunzel
2011Adam and Dog (Short)Film Consultant
2012Paperman (Short)Character Designer
Wreck-It RalphAdditional Visual Development
2014Duet (Short)Director / Animator

Publications

  • Keane, Glen (1986). Adam Raccoon and the King's Big Dinner. Colorado Springs, Col.: Chariot Victor Pub. ISBN 978-0-7814-0039-8. OCLC . 
  • Keane, Glen (1987). Adam Raccoon at Forever Falls. Elgin, Ill.: Chariot Books. ISBN 978-1-55513-087-9. OCLC . 
  • Keane, Glen (1987). Adam Raccoon in Lost Woods. Elgin, Ill.: Chariot Books. ISBN 978-1-55513-088-6. OCLC . 
  • Keane, Glen (1987). Adam Raccoon and the Circus Master. Elgin, Ill.: Chariot Books. ISBN 978-1-55513-090-9. OCLC . 
  • Keane, Glen (1989). Adam Raccoon and the Flying Machine. Elgin, Ill.: Chariot Books. ISBN 978-1-55513-287-3. OCLC . 
  • Keane, Glen (1989). Adam Raccoon and the Mighty Giant. Elgin, Ill.: Chariot Books. ISBN 978-1-55513-288-0. OCLC . 
  • Campbell, Stan; Jane Vogel; John Duckworth; Jim Townsend; Glen Keane (ill.) (1992). Quick studies: Philippians–Hebrews. Elgin, Ill.: D.C. Cook Pub. Co. ISBN 978-0-7814-0028-2. OCLC . 
  • Campbell, Stan; John Duckworth; Jim Townsend; Glen Keane (ill.) (1992). Quick Studies: James–Revelation. Elgin, Ill.: D.C. Cook Pub. Co. ISBN 978-0-7814-0029-9. OCLC . 
  • Keane, Glen (1993). Adam Raccoon and the Race to Victory Mountain. Elgin, Ill.: Chariot Books. ISBN 978-1-55513-363-4. OCLC . 
  • Keane, Glen (1995). Adam Raccoon and Bully Garumph. Elgin, Ill.: Chariot Books. ISBN 978-1-55513-367-2. OCLC . 
  • Keane, Glen (1995). Cookie time: a first lesson in obedience. Elgin, Ill.: Chariot Books. ISBN 978-0-7814-0206-4. OCLC . 
  • Keane, Glen (1995). Follow the king: A first lesson in trust. Elgin, Ill.: Chariot Books. ISBN 978-0-7814-0207-1. OCLC . 
  • Keane, Glen; Samii Taylor; Joe Yakovetic (1995). Parables for Little Kids. Elgin, Ill.: Chariot Family Pub. ISBN 978-0-7814-0258-3. OCLC .