Sleeping Beauty – 1959 Theatrical Teaser
Floyd Norman, clean-up artist/inbetween artist (uncredited)
Floyd Norman: An Animated Life’: He Broke Barriers at Disney
The animator Floyd Norman at Disney in 1956, in a documentary about him. Credit Michael Fiore Films/FilmBuff
FLOYD NORMAN: AN ANIMATED LIFE Directed by Michael Fiore, Erik Sharkey
“Every time there’s a great moment in animation, look around, there’s Floyd Norman,” one colleague says. Another remarks, “He’s like the Forrest Gump of animation.”
Mr. Norman was hired at Disney in 1956 and became the first African-American animator on its staff. There he helped hand-draw scenes in “Sleeping Beauty,” “Mary Poppins,” “The Jungle Book” and other films, then went on to work at Hanna-Barbera, Pixar and elsewhere. The list of films and cartoons (“Fat Albert” and “Scooby-Doo” among them) he was involved with is enormous.
FLOYD NORMAN: An Animated Life TRAILER (Documentary, 2016)
Titles aside, this documentary, directed by Michael Fiore and Erik Sharkey, features its own clever and original animation that illustrates scenes from Mr. Norman’s life. While he’s a tireless and upbeat presence, his path hasn’t been without setbacks, including what may have been age discrimination.
At 65 Mr. Norman was let go from Disney. Yet, like a mad cross between Bartleby the Scrivener and a cheery tour guide, he continued to show up at the company’s offices for years and help others until eventually being rehired. Now in his early 80s, he’s still making art.
The humble Mr. Norman is always ready with a laugh, and it’s tough not to smile yourself when he reaches for a pencil and starts drawing. When that happens, it’s redundant to say he’s special. Anyone can see it.