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John HenchJohn Hench, senior vice president at Walt Disney Imagineering, has been a member of the Disney creative team for over 60 years.
Hench joined Disney as a sketch artist in the Story Department at the old Hyperion Avenue Studios in 1939. Subsequent responsibilities included story editing, layout, background, effects animation and special effects.
His skills were utilized in a wide range of Disney films including:
Background paintings: Fantasia and Dumbo
Layout paintings: Three Caballeros and Fun & Fancy Free
Art supervision: Make Mine Music
Cartoon art treatment: So Dear To My Heart
Color and styling: Ichabod & Mr. Toad, Cinderella, Peter Pan
Animation effects: The Living Desert
Special effects: 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea
Hench received lead special effects title credits for 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, which won an Academy Award? in 1954 for best special effects. He also worked closely with famed surrealist artist Salvador Dali at the Disney Studios doing storyboard sketches for the proposed film Destino in the early 1940s.
In addition to his duties at Walt Disney Imagineering, Hench is also the official portrait artist of Mickey Mouse, having painted Mickey's corporate portrait for his 25th (1953), 50th (1978) and 60th (1988) birthdays. To further the tradition, Hench was commissioned by Walt Disney Art Classics, the art and collectibles division of The Walt Disney Company, to render Mickey in an official portrait commemorating his 70th birthday. The portrait was published as a limited edition print in December of 1998 and was an instant sell-out. Following his creation of Mickey's 70th anniversary portrait Hench completed an all-new portrait of Mickey for Walt Disney Art Classics in commemoration of the Millennium.