Joshua Meador


Joshua Meador was an artist who rose to the top of his profession in the film world as an employee of Disney Studios. He was born in Columbus, MS (also the hometown of Tennessee Williams), in 1911. He graduated high school in 1930 and received a nomination to the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, but refused, choosing instead to study art. He later enrolled in the Art Institute of Chicago in 1931 and graduated with honors in 1935. Meador joined Disney's art department soon after, and he worked on the legendary feature-length creations Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), Fantasia (1940) (for which he handled significant parts of the dinosaur animation in The Rite of Spring sequence), Pinocchio (1940), and Dumbo (1941). Later in the decade, he was one of those responsible for The Three Caballeros (1945), Make Mine Music (1946), and So Dear to My Heart (1948). But it was in the 1950s that Meador fully hit his stride, as part of the Oscar-winning team on 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954). It was a year after that movie's release that he was chosen for what is probably the best-known work of his career, ironically on loan from Disney to MGM; Meador was given the task of designing and animating the "id" monster for Fred McLeod Wilcox's Forbidden Planet (1956), a genre-defining science fiction film. His subsequent projects included special effects and animation of Darby O'Gill and the Little People (1959) and Babes in Toyland (1961). Although Meador enjoyed working for Disney, his first love -- apart from his family -- was painting, especially landscapes. (He was even permitted to explore this aspect of his work in the Disney television short "Four Artists Paint One Tree"). He left the studio in 1960, under an agreement that left him on-call for special projects. Meador died of a heart attack at his home in Casper, California in 1965. He is considered a notable celebrity in his hometown of Columbus, MS, which has honored him on more than one occasion, and also in the community of Bodega Bay, CA, where he spent much of his free time. ~ Bruce Eder, Rovi

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