Animator Burny Mattinson, who worked on Disney classics for 70 years, dies at 87 staff KABC logo
Tuesday, February 28, 2023
Burny Mattinson, Disney's longest-serving employee, dies at 87
Burny Mattinson spent 70 years with Disney animation, working on classics from "Lady and the Tramp" in 1955 to last year's "Strange World."

LOS ANGELES -- Disney animator Burny Mattinson, who was the company's longest-serving employee ever and worked on classics like "101 Dalmations" and "The Jungle Book," has died at 87.

During a 70-year career with Walt Disney Animation Studios, Mattinson worked as an animator, director, producer and story artist. He was involved in animated films ranging from 1955's "Lady and the Tramp" to serving as a consultant and mentor for 2022's "Strange World."

He also helped develop story lines for films like "Beauty and the Beast," "The Lion King" and "Aladdin." Other projects he worked on included "Mary Poppins," "The Aristocats" and "Mulan," among many others.

"Deeply saddened that Disney Legend Burny Mattinson - our longest serving employee - has passed away," Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger said on Twitter. "Burny started as a messenger on the lot in 1953 & went on to become a true icon of DisneyAnimation. We are forever grateful for his contributions & seven decades of service."

Mattinson set the record for Disney longevity in 2018 when he passed a mark of more than 64 years set by artist and Imagineer John Hench.

Mattinson died Monday at Canyon Oaks Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Canoga Park following a short illness, the company said.

Disney says donations in his name can be made to the Motion Picture and Television Fund in Woodland Hills.

Mattinson is survived by his wife, Ellen Siirola; son Brett, daughter Genny, daughter-in-law Kelly and son-in-law Larry Ellena, and four grandchildren.

The Walt Disney Co. is the parent company of this station.