Former Disney animator dies


Jenna Bordelon

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

23 years.

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.