Ben Sharpsteen graduated from Alameda High School in 1914, then spent two years at the University of California with a major in agriculture. Yet, after the army, he worked as an aniamtor in New York City from 1919 to 1922 for Hearst International Film Service, and then as an artist for the Oakland Tribune, and then back agin in animation for Max Fleischer in 1926.

He started out at the Disney studio as an animator from March 1929 to 1934. He then moved on to directing shorts, then became a sequence director on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and supervising director on Pinocchio. His directorial duties were combined with producing, starting on Fantasia. In the 1950, he directed and produced documentaries and Portugal was even nominated for the Academy Awards.

On Snow White, he directed 8 sequences, two of which were discarded. All of them involved the dwarfs, starting with the legendary sequence where the little men sing Heigh Ho, to the bed building, and the chase of the Queen.

In an interview, Ben revealed that there was talk of using Dopey in the Sorcerer’s Apprentice sequence of Fantasia, but that Walt would not use characters from Snow White at the time.

There is a room espacially dedicated to his time collaborating with Walt Disney at the Sharpsteen Museum in Calistoga, in the Napa valley.

We heard that some real animators were going to be brought out from New York, and we were kind of thinking about this. The first one that arrived was Ben Sharpsteen.

Wilfred Jackson