The creator of Bambi, Tyrus Wong, died on December 29, at the age of 106, the Walt Disney Family Museum announced Sunday.
Very few people knew the Chinese-born painter, but the character he created marked the childhood of many lovers of cartoons.
In a statement, the museum said, “His influence on the artistic composition of the animated feature ‘Bambi’ cannot be overstated.”
The artist died at home surrounded by his family.
Born in Canton in 1910, Tyrus Wong and his father settled in the United States, leaving behind his mother and sister whom he never saw again.
From 1938 to 1941, he worked for Walt Disney Studios. When he learned that the company was going to produce the feature film “Bambi”, he decided to paint several images of deer in a forest.
The sketches were loved by studio executives and were used as the inspiration for the movie. Walt Disney himself loved how Wong was able to seamlessly connect the images of deers to the forest.
He then worked for Warner Brothers until his retirement in 1968.
His art was celebrated at the Walt Disney Family Museum in 2013 in an exhibition “Water to paper, painting to sky: the art of Tyrus Wong”.
“Bambi” was made in 1942 by Walt Disney himself and a second part was released in 2006. The story was inspired by the work of Hungarian Felix Salten in the 1920s.