Disney animator behind ‘The Little Mermaid’ and ‘The Lion King,’ dies of coronavirus

Ann Sullivan, a longtime Walt Disney Studios animator, has died from complications of Covid-19. Sullivan resided at the Motion Picture Television Fund’s (MPTF) skilled nursing facility in Woodland Hills, California. She was 91. Born in Fargo, North Dakota, Sullivan began working at Disney in the 1950s, in the studio’s animation paint lab, before leaving to have a family. She worked in the paint lab on 1988’s Oliver & Company, 1989’s The Little Mermaid, 1991’s Rover Dangerfield and 1992’s Cool World. She painted for the 1990 short The Prince and the Pauper; 1994’s The Lion King; 1995’s Pocahontas; 1997’s Hercules; 1999’s Tarzan and Fantasia 2000; 2000’s The Emperor’s New Groove; and 2002’s Lilo & Stitch and Treasure Planet. She worked on nearly 20 animated Disney films in her career at Walt Disney Animation Studios. “We called her ‘Giggles’ at MPTF. You couldn’t help but fall in love with her laugh,” MPTF wrote in a statement. The nursing home’s chaplain Dina Kuperstock added that Sullivan “had the best laugh of any person I’ve ever known. Ann didn’t just laugh with a sound. When she giggled, her whole body would shake and light up with joy, and it was contagious for everyone in the room.” Sullivan is survived by four children, eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Sullivan was the third resident of the MPTF home facility to pass away from the novel coronavirus. Actor Allen Garfield, age 80, and John Breier, age 64, both died last week.