Former Disney animator dies
GLENDALE -- J. Kenneth Peterson began his long career with Disney
studios as an assistant animator on “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” and
ended it as one of the 12 governors of the Academy Awards Assn.
He died March 29, 2000 in Santee at 91. He had lived in Glendale for
His first love was art. After an attempt at making his own animated
films, he joined the Walt Disney Studios in 1936. In 1937, he was
assigned to “Snow White,” his first feature-length film, the first
animated feature-length film.
In 1941, he was selected as the animator’s representative during a
strike at the studios. Walt Disney was so impressed with his civility and
good humor, he promoted Peterson quickly to head of the Art Department.
He was the production supervisor on such films as “Alice in
Wonderland,” “Lady and the Tramp,” “101 Dalmatians” and “Sleeping
He also played an important role in the development of Disneyland. He
oversaw original merchandising and established the Art Corner and
Merlin’s Magic Shop.
Peterson also produced live-action documentaries, television shows,
short-subject films and later became a governor of the Academy Awards
He was born in San Francisco and grew up in Hawaii. He graduated from
the University of Washington.
After he retired, Peterson produced more than 100 original serigraphs,
celluloids and posters of Southwestern imagery.
He is survived by his daughter, Laurel McIntyre; sons, Frederick M.
Peterson and John K. Peterson; six grandchildren; three
step-grandchildren; and three step-great-grandchildren.
Services were private.