Stephen Bosustow

Stephen Bosustow, animator, producer (born at Victoria, BC 6 Nov 1911; died at Malibu, Ca 4 Jul 1981). Stephen Bosustow began working professionally as a cartoonist in Hollywood in the early 1930s.

Stephen Bosustow

Stephen Bosustow, animator, producer (born at Victoria, BC 6 Nov 1911; died at Malibu, Ca 4 Jul 1981). Stephen Bosustow began working professionally as a cartoonist in Hollywood in the early 1930s. He worked with Ub Iwerks (the creator of Mickey Mouse) and Walter Lantz (creator of Woody Woodpecker), and joined the Walt Disney Studios as an animator/writer in 1934. After the bitter labour dispute that led to a strike at Disney in 1941, Bosustow left the studio and for a while worked for Hughes Aircraft as an illustrator. He set up his own company and during the 1944 presidential election supported Franklin Roosevelt with the film Hell-Bent for Election. In 1945, Williams and several other disenchanted Disney artists formed United Productions of America (UPA), an animation company that allowed its artists greater creative freedom.

UPA signed a distribution deal with Columbia Pictures for animated shorts to compete with Disney and Warner Bros., and struck it rich with the crotchety old character of the near-blind Mr. Magoo, voiced by Jim Backus. While a producer at UPA, Stephen Bosustow personally oversaw 43 7-minute Mr. Magoo shorts between 1949-59, 2 of them Oscar winners: When Magoo Flew (1954) and Magoo's Puddle Jumper (1956). He also won an Oscar for Gerald McBoing Boing (1951) and received 7 other nominations. At the 1957 Academy Awards ceremony, UPA produced all 5 animated shorts in competition, guaranteeing him a win. UPA was sold in 1961, and sometime later he formed Stephen Bosustow Productions, which produced educational films, travelogues and animated shorts, including the 8-minute Oscar winner Is it Always Right to Be Right? (1971), narrated by Orson Welles, and the Oscar-nominated Legend of John Henry (1974), narrated by Roberta Flack.

In 1981, Bosustow's "as-told-to autobiography" Queesto: Pacheenaht Chief by Birthright was published. His cousin had married a son of the chief of the PACHEENAH First Nations and, discovering that the 100-year-old chief was a lively raconteur, Bosustow recorded his memories dating back to the 19th century, prior to the mass arrival of Europeans. It is a highly regarded and unique oral history of Vancouver Island.