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Disney Storyman Bill Peet Dead At Age 87

Bill Peet, author and illustrator of 35 children's books and the legendary Disney storyman who is credited with writing 101 DALMATIANS, passed away on Saturday, May 11, 2002 at the age of 87. He died at his home in Studio City due to complications from several long-term illnesses. Peet joined Disney Studios in 1937 at the age of 22. He went to work immediately as an apprentice animator on SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS. The following year, Peet moved into the story department and, over the next 27 years, contributed to such Disney classics as PINOCCHIO, FANTASIA, THE THREE CABALLEROS, SONG OF THE SOUTH, CINDERELLA, PETER PAN, ALICE IN WONDERLAND, SLEEPING BEAUTY and THE JUNGLE BOOK. Animation historian John Canemaker is quoted saying, "Bill Peet was Walt Disney's greatest storyman and considered to be on a par with Walt himself in terms of telling strong stories with vibrant characters. Walt trusted Bill's storytelling powers so much that he assigned him to write the studio's first script for an animated feature. And that film was 101 DALMATIANS. Bill completely storyboarded DALMATIANS by himself and it is considered to be one of the tightest, most fun and interesting narratives the studio ever did." Peet left Disney in 1964 to pursue a full-time career as a children's book author. Peet is survived by his wife of 64 years, Margaret, a son, William B. Peet, Jr., and three grandchildren, Timothy J. Peet, Michael James Peet and Jennifer Marie Peet. There will be a public memorial service this Saturday (5/18) at 3 p.m. in the Church of the Hills, Forest Lawn Memorial Park, 6300 Forest Lawn Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90068. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in his name to The Wilderness Society, 1615 M Street, NW, Washington D.C. 20036.