Milt Kahl
Milton Erwin Kahl

(1909-03-22)March 22, 1909
DiedApril 19, 1987(1987-04-19) (aged 78)
Years active1936–1976, 1985–1986
Known forOne of Disney's Nine Old Men
Laura Nordquist Kahl
(m. 1934; died 1967)
Phyllis Bounds Detiege
(m. 1968; div. 1978)
Julie Kahl
(m. 1980; died 1987)

Milton Erwin Kahl (March 22, 1909 – April 19, 1987) was an American animator. He was one of (and often considered the most influential of) Walt Disney's supervisory team of animators, known as Disney's Nine Old Men.[1]


Kahl was born in San Francisco, California, to Erwin, a saloon bartender, and Grace Kahl.[2] He had three younger sisters, Dorothy, Marion, and Gladys.[3] He would often refine character sketches from Bill Peet, incorporating ideas of Ken Anderson. The final look of many characters in the Disney films was designed by Kahl, in his angular style inspired by Ronald Searle and Picasso. He is revered by contemporary masters of the form such as Andreas Deja, and also Brad Bird, who was his protégé at Disney in the early 1970s. In the behind-the-scenes feature "Fine Food and Film" shown on the Ratatouille DVD, Bird referred to Kahl as "tough," but in a gentle way, as he often gave Bird advice on where he could improve in animation whenever he came up short. Bird later repeated this in "The Giant's Dream" documentary on the Blu Ray for The Iron Giant.

In the book The Animator's Survival Kit, the author Richard Williams makes repeated references and anecdotes relating to Kahl, whom he befriended during his early years in the animation industry. The centenary of Kahl's birth was honored by the Academy on April 27, 2009, with a tribute entitled "Milt Kahl: The Animation Michelangelo" and featured Brad Bird as a panelist.[4]

On April 19, 1987, Kahl died of pneumonia, aged 78, in Mill Valley, California.[5]


Year Title Credits Characters Notes
1934 Servants' Entrance Animator uncredited
1935 Mickey's Fire Brigade (Short) Animator uncredited
On Ice (short) Animator uncredited
1936 Orphans' Picnic (Short) Animator uncredited
Elmer Elephant (short) Animator uncredited
Mickey's Circus (short) Animator uncredited
Toby Tortoise Returns (short) Animator uncredited
1937 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Animator Forest animals[6] Credited as Milton Kahl
Lonesome Ghosts (short) Animator uncredited
1938 Ferdinand the Bull Animator Ferdinand (voice; uncredited)
Farmyard Symphony (short) Animator uncredited
1939 Ugly Duckling (short) Animator uncredited
1940 Pinocchio Animation Director Pinocchio,[7] Geppetto Credited as Milton Kahl
1942 Bambi Supervising Animator Bambi, Thumper[8] Credited as Milton Kahl
1943 Saludos Amigos (Short) Animator Donald Duck riding the llama sequence[9]
The Grain That Built a Hemisphere (Documentary short) Animator uncredited
Education for Death: The Making of the Nazi (Short) Animator uncredited
Reason and Emotion (Short) Animator uncredited
The Winged Scourge (Documentary short) Animator uncredited
Chicken Little (short) Animator uncredited
1944 How to Play Football Animator Credited as Milton Kahl
1945 The Three Caballeros Animator Credited as Milton Kahl
Tiger Trouble (Short) Animator uncredited
Duck Pimples (Short) Animator uncredited
Hockey Homicide (short) Animator uncredited
1946 Make Mine Music Animator
Song of the South Directing Animator Br'er Rabbit, Br'er Bear, and Br'er Fox
1947 Fun & Fancy Free Directing Animator Bongo
1948 Melody Time Directing Animator Johnny Appleseed, Slue Foot Sue[9]
1949 So Dear to My Heart Animator
The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad Directing Animator Water Rat, Mole, MacBadger, Brom Bones
1950 Cinderella Directing Animator Fairy Godmother, the King, the Grand Duke[10]
1951 Alice in Wonderland Directing Animator Alice[10]
1953 Peter Pan Directing Animator Peter Pan, Wendy, the Darling children[10]
1955 Lady and the Tramp Directing Animator Tramp, Trusty
1959 Sleeping Beauty Directing Animator Prince Philip, Sir Minstrel, Samson, King Hubert[10]
1961 One Hundred and One Dalmatians Directing Animator Pongo,[11] Perdita, Roger, Anita
1963 The Sword in the Stone Directing Animator / Character Designer Arthur, Merlin, Lord Ector, Sir Kay, Sir Bart, Madame Mim
1964 Mary Poppins Animator
1967 The Jungle Book Directing Animator Shere Khan, Kaa, Mowgli, Bagheera, King Louie[12]
1968 Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day (Short) Animator Tigger[13]
1970 The Aristocats Directing Animator Thomas O'Malley, Duchess, Edgar, Madame Bonfamille, Georges Hautecourt
1971 Bedknobs and Broomsticks Animator King Leonidas, Fisherman Bear
1973 Robin Hood Directing Animator Robin Hood, Little John, Maid Marian, Lady Kluck, the Sheriff of Nottingham
1974 Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too (Short) Directing Animator Tigger
1977 The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh Animator Tigger
The Rescuers Directing Animator Madame Medusa, Snoops, Penny[14]
1995 Frank and Ollie (Documentary) Acknowledgment: Caricatures
2002 Mickey's House of Villains (Video) Animator - Segment "Lonesome Ghosts"


  1. ^ Canemaker 2001, pp. 125–126.
  2. ^ 1910 United States Federal Census
  3. ^ 1920 United States Federal census
  4. ^ "Milt Kahl: The Animation Michelangelo". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved September 28, 2009.
  5. ^ "Milt Kahl, Animator for Disney". United Press International. Chicago Tribune. April 24, 1987. Retrieved September 7, 2020.
  6. ^ Canemaker 2001, p. 137.
  7. ^ Canemaker 2001, pp. 137–138.
  8. ^ Canemaker 2001, pp. 141–142.
  9. ^ a b Canemaker 2001, p. 143.
  10. ^ a b c d Canemaker 2001, p. 145.
  11. ^ Canemaker 2001, p. 147.
  12. ^ Canemaker 2001, pp. 148–150.
  13. ^ Canemaker 2001, p. 164.
  14. ^ Canemaker 2001, pp. 156–160.