Dale Baer, a beloved and prolific animation legend, has passed away. He was 70. The announcement came on January 16, 2021 by friends and colleagues that he had passed away the day before. A cause of death has yet to be determined. Walt Disney Animation Studios released the following statement below through their social media channels such as Twitter.
A statement from Walt Disney Animation Studios pic.twitter.com/zlit6UqDDL
— Disney Animation (@DisneyAnimation) January 17, 2021
Born on June 15, 1950, Baer got his start in animation as far back as 1971 as an uncredited animator on Bedknobs and Broomsticks. He would officially work for Disney as a trainee and character animator on Robin Hood in 1973. Since then, Baer would manage to work on both Disney and non-Disney projects over the course of 50 years. He would run his own studio, The Baer Animation Company, in the 1990s, producing animation for films and commercials.
Baer’s most notable credit was as the supervising animator of Yzma for The Emperor’s New Groove. In sync to a delightful performance by Eartha Kitt, Baer’s work garnered the Annie Award for Individual Character Animation. He would also serve as supervising animator of Alameda Slim in Home on the Range, Wilbur Robinson in Meet the Robinsons, and Owl in the 2011 Winnie the Pooh feature.
Baer was previously animation director on titles such as Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Disney’s The Prince and the Pauper short, Tom and Jerry: The Move, and an episode of the Disney series Quack Pack. Baer briefly worked on live-action features as his studio provided the animation for the Whiskers character in the 1993 Arnold Schwarzenegger feature Last Action Hero and he was an animation consultant on the visual effects for the 1995 thriller Species.
Baer would also provide character animation for Bernard and Miss Bianca in The Rescuers, Adult Simba in The Lion King, and Doctor Doppler in Treasure Planet. He would also provide animation on several Peanuts television specials such as You’re the Greatest, Charlie Brown and Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (and Don’t Come Back!!). He was a layout and key animator on Ralph Bakshi’s The Lord of the Rings and was a story director on The Smurfs television series as well as the Happy Days animated spin-off The Fonz and the Happy Days Gang.
In recent years, Baer had taught part of the Character Animation program at CalArts. In 2016, the Annie Awards honored him with the Winsor McCay Award for his contributions to the animation medium. According to the Internet Movie Database, Baer’s last credit will be as an animator on the fourthcoming Bob’s Burgers: The Movie.