Ruthie Tompson


October 28, 2021

Ruthie Tompson, responsible Ruth Irene Tompson (born July 22, 1910 in Portland, died October 11, 2021 in Los Angeles) - American animator and super centenarian.

Curriculum vitae


She was raised in Boston, Massachusetts. In November 1918, she moved with her family to Oakland, California. In 1924, her parents divorced, and her mother, Arlene, remarried to artist John Roberts. The family moved to Los Angeles and lived in the same quarter as the home of Robert Disney, Walt Disney's uncle. This is where Roy and Walt Disney lived when they first arrived in Los Angeles.

The Walt Disney Company

As she noted in one of the interviews, Tompson first met Disney when she visited her neighbor Robert's new child. The Walt Disney Company, then known as the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio, was not far from her home - she discovered her on her way to junior high. Many times, standing outside and watching the factory work through the window, she was finally invited to the office. She was in the office a lot, and eventually got a job with Alice Comedies. At 18, Tompson decided to work at Dubrock's Riding Academy, where Roy and Walt Disney often played polo. Walt Disney remembered Tompson from her youth and offered her a job painting characters and backgrounds. After training in the profession, Tompson was assigned to the Color Department, where she helped with the Disney movie Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. While contributing to several other Disney films, Tompson was promoted to final reviewer, where she was responsible for evaluating the suitability of the film frames made for inclusion in the film. During World War II, she was promoted to the position of animation supervisor, where she worked on training and educational films for the US Army, starring Myszka Miki, Donald Duck and Goofy. In 1948, Tompson worked in the Cinematography Department, working on camera drives and animation shooting mechanisms. She was one of the first three women to join the International Union of Cinematographers. Tompson continued to work in the studio ranks, eventually getting a job in the Film Planning Department.

Further life

Tompson retired in 1975 after nearly 40 years with The Walt Disney Company. She is the oldest member of the Women in Animation organization. In 2000, she was honored by the Disney Legends show and received a Disney Legends Award for her work with Walt Disney. In 2017, Tompson was awarded by the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for her contribution to the development of the animated film industry. In July 2020, she became a super centenarian.


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