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The Devastating Death Of Disney Pioneer Ruthie Tompson

As reported by The Hollywood Reporter, legendary Disney animator Ruthie Tompson has died at the age of 111. According to a Disney spokesperson, her passing occurred on October 10, 2021, at the Motion Picture & Television Fund's Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills. For over 40 years, she worked for the Walt Disney Company as one of its animation department's leading minds. In fact, her expertise in the field earned her a place in the International Photographers Union in 1952 — making her and two other women the first in history to do so.

During her tenure at Disney, Tompson had the opportunity to work on some of the most groundbreaking features to ever hit the big screen. The first of which was "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" from 1937, followed by such favorites as "Bambi," "Sleeping Beauty," "Robin Hood," and more, making her one of the most influential figures in the studio's early history. Her final cinematic credit, however, did not stem from a project under the Disney banner, but rather United Artists, where she lent her talents to the 1978 adaptation of "The Lord of the Rings."

While Ruthie Tompson's achievements stand on their own just fine, that hasn't stopped her peers from making public statements honoring her legacy and touting the importance of her contributions.

Tompson's peers share their love for the late pioneer

Given how beloved and celebrated she is in the entertainment industry, it should come as no surprise that many of Ruthie Tompson's colleagues and admirers voiced their adoration for the late trailblazer. First and foremost was Executive Chairman and Chairman of the Board for the Walt Disney Company, Bob Iger, who said, "While we will miss her smile and wonderful sense of humor, her exceptional work, and pioneering spirit will forever be an inspiration to us all," referring to her as a "legend among animators."

Filmmaker Leslie Iwerks made an especially heartfelt tribute to the Disney icon, making sure to note that Tompson was one of the few people in the modern era who'd known Walt Disney himself before he and his company took off. She then recalls that "Ruthie and I had great times together; she was fun, wacky, sharp as a whip, talented, and a dear friend to our Iwerks family." Iwerks then reminisced about their adventurous drive to the grand opening of the Walt Disney Family Museum in 2007, adding that "She will be greatly missed."

Per Deadline, Ruthie Tompson is survived by her nieces, Judy Weiss and Calista Tonelli, as well as her nephew, Pierce Butler III. At the same time, her remarkable body of work and status as a revolutionary in her field will ensure that Tompson's memory will live on in popular culture for years to come.