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Famed Character Sculptor Kent Melton Passes at 68

Known for his work on multiple high profile animated films including ‘Aladdin,’ ‘The Lion King,’ ‘Mulan,’ ‘The Incredibles,’ and ‘Coraline,’ the artist dies last Thursday from Lewy body dementia.

Kent Melton, a character sculptor known for his clay maquettes, passed away last Thursday from Lewy body dementia, according to THR. He was 68.

Melton contributed to numerous high profile animated films, including Aladdin (1992), The Lion King (1994), Mulan (1998), The Incredibles (2004) and Coraline (2009). The artist was a key player in the 1990s Disney animation “renaissance,” and also crafted iconic characters for LAIKA Studios.

Melton credits for other notable Disney films include Thumbelina (1994), Pocahontas (1995), The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996), Hercules (1997), The Prince of Egypt (1998), Tarzan (1999), The Road to El Dorado (2000), Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001), and Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron (2002). He also worked on ParaNorman (2012) and The Boxtrolls (2014) for LAIKA.

The sculptor was born and raised on a farm in Springfield, Missouri, and, while he never attended art school, held a wood carving job at Silver Dollar City amusement park before moving to Los Angeles. Once in the City of Angels, Melton began work at Hanna-Barbera as a staff sculptor. He cut his metaphorical teeth on characters for The Flintstones and The Jetsons, as well as Tiny Toons Adventures during his time as a freelancer for Warner Bros.

Not one to limit his skills to just wood and clay, Melton worked on the Cave of Wonders’s tiger head in Aladdin, the first computer-animated character ever created for a feature animated film.

Melton is survived by his wife Martha; his three children Seth, Jordan, and Nellie; and his grandchildren Persephone, Toby, Juliet, and Charlie.

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