DUMBO author dies
Created 06/09/1999 - 00:00
Helen Aberson Mayer, co-author with Harold Perl of "Dumbo, the Flying
Elephant," the children's book that inspired the 1941 Walt Disney animated
feature, DUMBO, died April 3, 1999 in her Manhattan home. She was 92. Born
in Syracuse, New York in 1907, Mayer, who was known as Helen Aberson when
she wrote "Dumbo," moved from Syracuse, to Los Angeles, California in 1939
at the request of the Walt Disney Company.
In her story, Dumbo the baby elephant is teased for his oversized ears, but
eventually becomes a circus star when he learns that his ears allow him to
fly. Helen Mayer's son, Andrew Mayer, said his mother liked to create
animal characters and stories that represented people she knew or
situations she had been in, and to some degree the story of Dumbo, in which
a character perseveres against obstacles before finally achieving success,
represented her own struggles. Mayer continued to write into the 1960s, but
her later stories remain unpublished.