Disney animator Ann Sullivan has died of COVID-19, passing away on April 13, 2020, in the Motion Picture and Television Fund retirement home in Woodland Hills, California.
The artist was 91, so she was in that critical cross-section of the population that COVID-19 hits especially hard, The coronavirus has been especially vicious in nursing homes and convalescent hospitals, and Deadline reported that she is the third resident at the MPTF nursing home to die of complications from the dreaded novel coronavirus pandemic. She had celebrated her 91st birthday just a few days before her death.
Ann Sullivan worked on The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, Tarzan,and Lilo & Stitch. She also worked for Hanna-Barbera on such prjoects as Freedom 2000, and with Ralph Bakshi on Cool World.
She first worked for Disney Studios in the 1950s on Peter Pan. After marrying Kevin Sullivan, she retired from animation to raise their four children. She returned to animation in around 1987, working on Oliver and Company, The Little Mermaid, and the Mickey Mouse short The Prince and the Pauper. During her “retirement” as a stay-at-home-mother, she continued to paint and gave art lessons to neighborhood children.
Other projects that benefited from Ann Sullivan’s artwork were The Pagemaster, Rover Dangerfield, Disney’s Hercules, Pocahontas, Fantasia 2000, The Emperor’s New Groove, and Treasure Planet. Her last film was Home on the Range in 2004, when she was 75. Ignoring the old saw about not being able to teach an old dog new tricks, Ann Sullivan went from being a paint and ink artist to learning computerized animation.
Ann Sullivan is survived by four children, eight grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren, as well as millions of fans who admired her art and craftsmanship without ever knowing her name.
So far, over 45,000 people have died of Covid-19 in the United States alone, and approximately 187,330 people worldwide.