On Monday afternoon, friends, family, and coworkers of Disney Legend Burny Mattinson gathered at Walt Disney Animation Studios to celebrate Mattinson’s amazing achievement: 65 years at The Walt Disney Company.
As a Disney artist, producer, and director, Mattinson worked on so many of our favorite Disney animated movies, including Sleeping Beauty, Lady and the Tramp, 101 Dalmatians, The Sword in the Stone, The Jungle Book, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Pocahontas, Mulan, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and Tarzan, to name just a few.
Andrew Millstein, President of Walt Disney Animation Studios, presided over the afternoon’s events, telling Burny, “It’s an honor to be on stage with you … You are a key piece of the strength of Disney Animation, the generosity, the legacy.”
The celebration kicked off with this touching video tribute to Mattinson’s history with the company, wherein Mattinson says, “It’s about characters, but the biggest thing is having fun. I’ve always found that through all the pictures I’ve worked on. If you’re having fun working on it, it’ll come across.” Take a look:
We love hearing about Mattinson’s storied career in his own words! We were also excited to learn how it all began at a very young age. “Before beginning his career, Burny had been a Disney animation fan since the tender age of 6, [when] he saw his first Disney movie, Pinocchio,” said Millstein.
Mattinson’s career at Disney Animation began when he was 18 years old, in a truly incredible way, when his mother drove him to the Studios with his art portfolio in hand. The security guard at the gate saw his innate talent, and put in a call to get him through the gate. It was then when he began his career at Disney Animation as a traffic boy – a runner at the Studio.
Since then, the number of employees at The Walt Disney Company has grown from approximately 700 to approximately 190,000, and the number of Walt Disney Animation Studios films released has gone from fourteen to 57 by the end of this year!
“This is probably one of the best moments in the history of Disney Animation,” Millstein told Mattinson during the celebration. “To be here with you, celebrating this tremendous milestone. It’s a fantastic accomplishment. All of us who work at Disney Animation are better because of your participation and presence at the company.”
“To this day, Burny is pushing, and learning, and working and teaching, and that’s something that’s a hallmark of this studio,” Millstein added.
Disney Animator Eric Goldberg also paid tribute to Burny’s contribution during the celebration. After being presented with a letter from The Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger, Mattinson was presented with a book created by past and present Disney Animation employees, filled with kind words and drawings made especially for him.
Then, Millstein revealed this epic, one-of-a-kind statue made especially for Mattinson:
Then, this spectacular Burny cake was served:
Plus these amazing cupcakes:
Finally, when asked to say a few words, Mattinson summed up his 65 years perfectly:
“It’s been an absolute joy. I do love coming in every morning. I think one of the things that I found when I first started here, that has never changed, is the sense of anticipation of what’s going to happen here at the studio the next day, and I could hardly wait to get here. And something always did. That was remarkable. It’s been an exciting period for me, the whole 65 years, and I couldn’t thank everybody here enough for this very nice tribute.”
Congratulations, Burny! Thank you for all of the wonderful stories and memories, from all of us here at Oh My Disney.