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Last Updated: Friday, 10 September, 2004, 12:40 GMT 13:40 UK
Disney cartoon legend dies
Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnson
Frank Thomas, left, and Ollie Johnson formed a career-long bond
Legendary animator Frank Thomas, who worked on such Disney greats as Snow White, Bambi and Pinocchio, has died at the age of 92.

He also animated the memorable scene of two dogs romantically nibbling a single spaghetti strand in Lady and the Tramp.

Mr Thomas, one of Disney's original "nine old men" who helped build the studio into a powerhouse, suffered a brain haemorrhage some months ago.

He died at his home in Flintridge, California, a Disney spokesman said.

"Frank was a giant in our field, and he meant everything to me and to all of us who loved the art of animation," John Lasseter, creative head of Pixar Animation Studios and a former Disney animator, said.

"Beside being one of the key guys to help elevate animation from a novelty to an incredible art form, he was so generous in passing along his knowledge and experiences to the generations that followed."

Frank helped to invent animation as an art form and took it to incredible new heights
Leonard Maltin
Film critic
Mr Thomas graduated from Stanford University, where he studied art, drew cartoons for the school newspaper and met Ollie Johnson, with whom he formed a lifelong working partnership.

The pair began work for Disney in 1934 and were on the team that created the first full-length feature, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

Mr Thomas was known for emotional scenes and romance but in the late 1940s switched to villains.

Both men were known for their humour and ability to create warm, believable characters who could be loving, threatening or both.

Frank Thomas
Mr Thomas worked on some of Disney's best-loved films

Other Thomas credits include Fantasia, Song of the South, Cinderella, Captain Hook in Peter Pan, 101 Dalmatians, The Jungle Book, Aristocats and the animated sequences in Mary Poppins.

He also created the scene where Bambi and Thumper, skated on ice, and drew the I've Got No Strings musical number in Pinocchio.

In 1995, Mr Thomas and Mr Johnson were the subject of a documentary, Frank and Ollie, written and directed by Theodore Thomas, the animator's son.

Film critic Leonard Maltin said: "Frank helped to invent animation as an art form and took it to incredible new heights."

Mr Thomas is survived by his wife of 58 years, Jeanette, their children and grandchildren.

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