Floyd Norman

Animator

Introduction

An American animator, writer, and comic book artist.

Norman had his start as an assistant to Katy Keene comic book artist Bill Woggon, who lived in the Santa Barbara, California, area Norman grew up in. In 1956, Norman was employed as an inbetweener on Sleeping Beauty (released in 1959) at The Walt Disney Company, becoming the first African-American artist to remain at the studio on a long-term basis. Following his work on Sleeping Beauty, Norman was drafted, and returned to the studio after his service in 1960 to work on One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961) and The Sword in the Stone (1963). After Walt Disney saw some of the inter-office sketches Norman made to entertain his co-workers, he was reassigned to the story department, where he worked with Larry Clemons on the story for The Jungle Book.

After Walt Disney’s death in 1966, Floyd Norman left the Disney studio to co-found Vignette Films, Inc., with business partner animator/director Leo Sullivan. Vignette Films, Inc. produced six animated films and was one of the first companies to produce films on the subject of black history. Norman and Sullivan worked together on various projects, including segments for Sesame Street and the original Hey, Hey, Hey, It’s Fat Albert television special conceived by Bill Cosby, which aired in 1969 on NBC. In 1972, a different Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids Saturday morning cartoon series was produced for CBS by Filmation Associates. In 1999, Norman and Sullivan created a multicultural internet site, afrokids.com, designed to present a variety of African-American images to children.

Norman returned to Disney at one point in the early 1970s to work on the Disney animated feature Robin Hood, and worked on several animated television programs at Hanna-Barbera and Ruby-Spears. In the 1980s he worked as a writer in the comic strip department at Disney and was the last scripter for the Mickey Mouse comic strip before it was discontinued.

He has worked on motion pictures for Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar, having contributed creatively as a story artist on films such as Toy Story 2 and Monsters, Inc. for Pixar and MulanDinosaur and The Hunchback of Notre Dame for Walt Disney Animation Studios, among others, including Reel FX‘s Free Birds.