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When animators draw together

Laura Sturza

As the first African-American animator at the Walt Disney Co. in

1956, Floyd Norman said he “was welcomed with open arms.”

Norman went on to a career as a Disney storyboard artist -- mainly


working from the studio’s Burbank and Glendale facilities. His

credits include “The Jungle Book,” “Mary Poppins” and “Sleeping


He will be honored Saturday for his lifetime achievement at the


30th annual Annie Awards for outstanding work in animation at

Glendale’s The Alex Theatre.

Storyboards use words and images -- which can be laid out like a

comic book -- to develop the story line, Norman said.

At 67, he continues to freelance, and worked on “Monsters, Inc.,”

which was nominated for an Annie for outstanding achievement in an

animated theatrical feature. While he wasn’t partial to any

particular monsters in that movie, he said he “tends to fall in love


with characters on every film.”

“What attracts me to a film are great characters,” Norman said.

“This is something that I learned from Walt Disney -- you’ve got to

create characters that the audience cares about and believes in.”

Steve Marmel will host the show. He started as a stand-up comic

before becoming a producer and story editor for Nickelodeon’s “The

Fairly Oddparents,” which was Annie nominated for best song and was

also a 2002 Emmy nominee.


He co-authored lyrics for “I Wish Every Day Could Be Christmas,”

which was the first song he had ever written.

"[We were] writing punch lines in rhyme,” Marmel said.

When he and his co-creators aren’t at their Burbank offices, they

take their creative projects to Lancer’s restaurant, which Marmel

said has “the best soup in town.”

The host plans to keep the awards moving at a fast clip, noting he

couldn’t turn down the gig.

“It’s the only nonpaying, nontelevised award show in Hollywood. Of

course I’d love to do it,” Marmel said.

Award presenters include legendary voice actress Janet Waldo, the

voice of Judy Jetson, and the actress and actor who voiced the

characters of “Lilo and Stitch” -- Daveigh Chase and Chris Sanders.

Sanders also directed “Lilo and Stitch,” which was nominated for the

most Annies.