The animation is absolutely great. Glen Keane (Lead Animator) is considered among the most innovative and masterful artists of his generation. Here is his story.


By David Bruce
David Bruce
This page was last updated May 17, 2005
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All my daughters rated Tarzan as some of the best animation they had ever seen.  I thought so too.  Here is a biography of Glen Keane.

Megan (age 12) says: I can't image how they did such amazing animation. The story line was excellent. The best Tarzan movie I have ever seen.

Carra (13) says: I think it was great. Well animated. Exciting.

Corrie (11) says: My favorite part was Tarzan getting the elephant hair. My favorite character was the elephant. The movie was really really cool. The best animation I have seen.

(L to R: Megan, Carra, Corrie)

 Glen Keane
     Glen Keane has emerged as one of the top talents working in animation today. His bold expressive style and innovative character designs have been compared favorably by critics and colleagues alike to the legendary masters of the art. During his illustrious 24 years with the Studio, he has been responsible for creating the characters of Ariel ("The Little Mermaid"), Beast, Aladdin, Pocahontas, Professor Ratigan ("The Great Mouse Detective") and Disney's newest animated star, Tarzan.

     Keane grew up in Paradise Valley, Arizona, where he learned to appreciate art at an early age from his father Bil Keane, the creator/cartoonist of the nationally-syndicated comic strip "The Family Circus." Keanes father encouraged him to learn how to draw not just cartoons, but anatomy and real life, and instilled in him a sincere approach toward what he was drawing.

     In 1972, Keane enrolled in CalArts with the intention of becoming an editorial cartoonist, but when his portfolio ended up at the school of film graphics (i.e. animation) by accident, he decided to give it a whirl. At the age of 19, he discovered animation and quickly realized it was the perfect marriage of all his interests.

     He joined Disney in 1974 and trained under legendary animators Ollie Johnston and Eric Larson. He went on to animate scenes in "The Rescuers" and "Pete's Dragon" before being promoted to directing animator on 'The Fox and the Hound" where he animated the spectacular bear fight sequence. For the featurette "Mickey's Christmas Carol," Keane drew Willie the Giant. He also served as a supervising animator on "The Great Mouse Detective" (where he oversaw Ratigan) and "Oliver & Company."

     For "The Little Mermaid," Keane designed and animated the character of Ariel (sharing supervising animator duties with Mark Henn) and animated the "Part of Your World" musical number. His talents soared to new heights on his next assignment, "The Rescuers Down Under," for which he created the movement, personality and performance for a magnificent golden eagle named Marahute in his role as supervising animator. Keane gained further acclaim for his contributions to the Academy Award-winning 199~ Disney animated offering, "Beauty and the Beast." He was responsible for designing, animating the emotionally and physically complex Beast and supervising the other animators assigned to that character.

     Keane describes the challenge of animating the Beast in this way:

     "There's never been a character like him before, so there was nothing to fall back on. I began by figuring out who the character really is inside. He's a guy trapped between two worlds. He's part animal and part human and not comfortable with either. His design had to show the human side -- heart, warmth and the ability to love. The ferocious, hideous animal side had to reflect his incredible power and agility. I filled my mind with all these things and began processing it into a final design."

     The talented animator returned to drawing humans for his assignment as supervising animator on Disney's 1992 international animated blockbuster, "Aladdin." Keane was responsible for designing and animating the title character and oversaw a team of 10 artists who brought the character so convincingly to life. Following that production, he went on to bring spirit and vitality to the title character in the 1995 Disney animated folktale "Pocahontas." Most recently, Keane had the grand task of designing the powerful title character in Disney's upcoming feature "Tarzan," while working out of Disney's Paris Animation Studio. In preparing for the project, he studied human anatomy and sculpture during his one-year sabbatical in Paris, and also the movement of gorillas in their natural habitat during a research trip in Africa.

     In addition to his work as an animator, Keane has written and illustrated a series of popular children's books.

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TARZAN ® owned by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc., and used by permission.
TARZAN © 1999 Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc., and Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.