Archived Artists

Glen Keane – Legendary Animator

Glen Keane – Legendary Animator

CTNX 2012
On location, Burbank CA

The Creative Talent Network® is extremely proud to present in an exclusive US appearance the legendary animator, Glen Keane  in “An Evening with Glen Keane”.

Guests will enjoy a once in a lifetime opportunity to meet the man, hear his passion and see the work . The evening will include a presentation from the master himself who will also be on site all weekend doing live demonstrations and participating in conversations with creators and other elements of the show.

Glen Keane was born on April 13, 1954 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of cartoonist Bil Keane, creator of the The Family Circus, and Australian born Thelma (Carne) Keane. He was raised in Paradise Valley, Arizona. He has been married to his Minnesota wife, Linda, for 37 years. Together they have raised their children, Claire and Max, both artists in the field of animation who have also married artists. The family continues to grow with one grandchild and two on the way.

Keane’s interest in art developed as a child by observing his father’s work as a cartoonist. (Glen’s younger self is represented in his father’s comic strip as the character of “Billy”). When he was 10 years old his dad gave him a copy of Burne Hogarth’s classic “Dynamic Anatomy”, and encouraged him to pursue classical drawing. After high school, Glen applied to the California Institute of the Arts School of Art, opting out of playing football for Arizona State University. In a providential twist of fate, his portfolio was accidentally sent to the Experimental Animation Program (then called Film Graphics), where he was mentored under the now-renowned animation teacher, Jules Engel.

In the summer of 1974 Keane applied and was accepted into the Walt Disney Studio’s training program where he apprenticed under Disney’s legendary Nine Old Men. Working closely with Eric Larson and Ollie Johnston, his debut  animation was featured in 1977′s  “The Rescuers” on the characters of Bernard and Penny. By 1980 Keane had come into his own as he animated the climactic bear fight in “The Fox and the Hound”. Following this he animated Willie the Giant in “Mickey’s Christmas Carol” and in 1982, he and John Lasseter teamed up to develop the first experimental synthesis of hand-drawn and CG animation in a 30 sec test inspired by “Where the Wild Things Are”.

In 1984 Keane left Disney as an employee yet continued a freelance relationship with them creating the character of Ratigan in the the 1986 release, “The Great Mouse Detective”. That same year after working on Ross Bagdasarian’s production of the Chipmunk Adventure he returned to Disney to animate Sykes, Fagin and Georgette in “Oliver & Company”. At this time Disney experienced a renaissance in animation in which Keane was responsible for animating some of Disney’s most memorable characters in what has been referred to as the “New Golden Age of Animation”. In the next decade Keane would design and animate the characters of Ariel in the 1989 film “The Little Mermaid”,  Marahute in “The Rescuers Down Under”, Beast in “Beauty and the Beast” and the title characters of “Aladdin” and “Pocahontas”. In 1995 Glen moved his family to Paris, France for a year long sabbatical where he studied sculpting. When the production of “Tarzan” began in which he was to asked to animate the character of Tarzan, Keane proposed that instead of returning to LA  he lead a team of animators at Disney’s Paris based studio.

Upon completion of “Tarzan” after 4 years in France, he returned to Burbank to create the CG-Hand drawn character of Silver for Disney’s 2002 release of “Treasure Planet”. In 2003 Keane began work developing and directing Disney’s first CG fairy tale “Rapunzel”. In September 2008, due to a heart attack, he stepped down from directing in order to supervise the animation. The film was released in 2010 under the title “Tangled’ . Throughout his career he has worked with and been supported by many talented artists to whom he is truly grateful.

In March of 2012 Glen decided to conclude his career at Disney and continue to pursue new frontiers in animation, stating, “I am convinced that animation really is the ultimate art form of our time with endless new territories to explore. I can’t resist it’s siren call to step out and discover them”.



I think of Rapunzel as an example of the highest qualities of human nature, male or female. I see her as an illustration of every human being who is born with a divine spark, a potential to become something unique. And the walls that surround her, and hold her back, are symbolic of walls in anyone’s life, those things that hold us back from being who we really long to be.
~ Glen Keane

ASK THE ARTIST NOW: If you could ask this artist about his technique, his talent, what he feels is the next step in his career, or anything at all, what would it be? Share your questions and comments to this amazing artist by posting below and they will be shared with the artist. The artist will answer them onsite at CTNx2012 and the answers will be posted here.