About Don Bluth Front Row Theatre

Don Bluth
Don Bluth

Theatre Director, Producer, All-around Good Guy

Don Bluth is one of the most acclaimed Directors and artists in the animation industry. He was born into a family of seven children in El Paso, Texas, on September 13, 1937. Don grew up on a dairy farm in Payson, Utah in a highly creative environment. When he was not attending School or milking cows on the family farm, he was drawing cartoons of his favorite Disney characters. Animation quickly captured his heart and soon he was dreaming about working for Walt Disney. In 1955, Don graduated from high school and immediately took a portfolio of his drawings to the Disney studios in Burbank, California. He landed a position in the animation department as an in-betweener. Later, Don worked at Disney under veteran Directing Animator, John Lounsbery from 1955 through 1956 on the classic Disney Animated movie, Sleeping Beauty. He left the Studio after one year to continue his education.

After graduating from BYU in 1967, he re-entered the animation field to work at Filmation Studios. He finally returned to Disney in 1971 as an animator and his career soon developed dramatically. Don Bluth was an animator on Disney’s Robin Hood in 1973. He was a Directing Animator on Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too in 1974 and The Rescuers in 1977. He then became the Director of Animation on Pete’s Dragon in 1977 and Producer/Director on The Small One in 1978.

Banjo the Woodpile CatTruly inspired by the Golden Age of Animation, Don often became disillusioned with the contemporary Disney animated films. He began a short movie project in his own garage with two fellow Disney animators, Gary Goldman and John Pomeroy in an attempt to restore what they believed had been lost. In March 1975, they began production on a short subject called Banjo the Woodpile Cat. During the next four-and-a-half years, Bluth, Goldman and Pomeroy worked nights and weekends to finish the project while continuing to work at the Disney Studio. The quality of the Banjo short film led to the introduction of a funding source which opened the door of opportunity to produce their first feature film, The Secret of NIMH. Don, Gary and John left Disney Studio on September 13th 1979 to form an independent company called Don Bluth Productions.

With the introduction of new laser-disc technology in 1983, Don Bluth Productions created the very first interactive laser-disc game called Dragon’s Lair. In 1984, Steven Speilberg approached Bluth to collaborate on an animated film called, An American Tail.

In November 1986, Bluth and Speilberg once again collaborated on a film called The Land Before Time. The studio relocated to Dublin, Ireland for the production and grew to become the largest animation studio in Europe. Bluth went on to produce subsequent projects in Ireland that include All Dogs Go To Heaven in 1989, Rock-a-doodle in 1990 and Thumbelina in 1993.

AnastasiaFollowing an already illustrious career in animation, Don returned from Ireland in September 1994, to Produce and Direct the animation movie, Anastasia for 20th Century Fox. He shared the creative leadership with his business partner Gary Goldman. Bluth and Goldman directed two more films for Fox Animation: Bartok the Magnificent in 1999 and Titan A.E in 2000.

Currently, Don Bluth has established a website for teaching classical animation techniques to both students and professionals over the internet and in person Masterclasses located here in Scottsdale, Arizona. The site offers online mentoring with DVD tutorials & animation workshops covering all aspects of classical animation, draftmanship and acting.

Don also kicked off a crowd-funding campaign for his upcoming movie Dragon's Lair: The Movie which reached it's goal and exceeded everyones expectations raising close to a half a million dollars. Don Bluth continues to be a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and resides in Scottsdale, Arizona.

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