Willie Ito

Willie ItoGrowing up in San Francisco, I realized I wanted to become an animator/cartoonist when I saw Snow White for the first time at age 5.

My career as an animator/cartoonist spans nearly 60 years. In 1954, I started at Walt Disney Productions on the feature Lady and the Tramp. I worked on the iconic spaghetti kissing scene as my indoctrination into the business.

Later, I worked at Warner Bros. Cartoon’s infamous Termite Terrace. I worked with Chuck Jones on such classics as “One Froggy Evening” and “What’s Opera Doc?” I also worked with Friz Freleng doing layouts, receiving my first screen credits on “Prince Violent,” later retitled “Prince Varmint,” featuring Bugs Bunny and Yosemite Sam.

Willie Ito and Cartoon FriendsAfter 6 years at Warner’s, Bob Clampett was starting production on The Beany and Cecil Show, and I was invited to join the new studio. I was in layouts and character designs. I also did many of the merchandise such as comic books, coloring books, and promo artwork.

I was also doing many comic books such as CARtoons and CRAZY Magazine as well as spot magazine cartoons on a freelance basis. I regularly attended the San Diego Comic-Con during the early days at the El Cortez Hotel, completing my run of Disney comic books. Meeting and rubbing elbows with legendary syndicated comic-strip artists was the highlight of my weekend.

I joined Hanna-Barbera Productions during the development of The Jetsons and remained for the next 14 years. Flintstones and The Yogi Bear Show were part of my credits.

Disney’s Comic-strip Dept. and later Disney Consumer Products beaconed and I returned to Disney. After 23 years of developing collectibles, mentoring Disney artist worldwide, I retired as Director of International Creative after a 45-year career.

I received the “Golden Awards” from the Motion Picture Cartoonist Guild, The Pacific Citizen’s APA award, and the NJAHS Legacy award.

In my retirement, I am currently writing, illustrating and publishing a series of children’s picture books recounting some of my personal accounts.

Willie Ito