From Aurora to Maleficent, Marc Davis Designed a Host of Disney’s Most Beloved Characters

Marc Davis

Born on this day March 30, 1913, Marc Davis, one of Disney’s most influential animators and artists, holds a special place in the annals of animation history. From Aurora to Maleficent, his portfolio is a veritable who’s who of Disney’s most treasured characters. His artistic abilities and unique vision shaped the look and feel of many classic Disney stories, leaving an enduring legacy that continues to inspire animators and audiences alike.

The genius behind some of Disney’s most iconic characters, Davis was instrumental in the creation of Snow White, the titular character of Disney’s first full-length animated feature. He breathed life into Snow White, imbuing her with a delicate grace and charm that made her instantly endearing to audiences. His exemplary work on the film heralded a new era for animation, firmly establishing Disney as the frontrunner in the industry.

Davis also lent his artistic magic to other beloved Disney characters such as Bambi, Alice from “Alice in Wonderland”, and Cinderella. With each character, he showcased his ability to encapsulate complex emotions and personalities within simple lines and shapes. This is particularly evident in the heartbreaking innocence of Bambi, the whimsical curiosity of Alice, and the resilient hope of Cinderella.

His work extended beyond these heroines, with Davis also crafting memorable villains including Maleficent from “Sleeping Beauty”, and designing lovable side characters like Mr. Toad. Each character, regardless of their role in the narrative, was rendered with meticulous attention to detail and imbued with a distinctive personality that made them uniquely ‘Disney’.

Marc Davis’ contributions to Disney extend beyond simply designing characters; he played a vital role in defining the visual language of Disney animation. His work continues to resonate with audiences around the world, underlining the timeless appeal of his creations and their central place in Disney’s illustrious history.

Jungle Cruise Elephant Pool | Marc Davis

“Marc can do story, he can do character, he can animate, he can design shows for me. All I have to do is tell him what I want and it’s there! He’s my Renaissance man.”

-Walt Disney

Curated by Jennifer