One of the most powerful voices in visual development and design of the Disney Renaissance has passed away. Sue Carol Nichols, Disney animator & story artist Sue Nichols was born Susan Carol Nichols June 10, 1965, in East Longmeadow, Massachusetts. She died of cancer September 1, 2020 in her hometown of East Longmeadow, MA.
Sue Nichols (she used her maiden name professionally) worked on several Disney animated movies. Disney created the job title Production Stylist for her. She worked hard to make sure her movies retained a consistent style. Her Disney films included The Princess and the Frog, Mulan, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Hercules, and The Lion King. She helped write Aladdin and The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
Cartoon Brew reported: “Nichols was assigned to the development team on Aladdin, where she created early designs for the villain Jafar and came up with idea of the Genie as a shape-shifter. The feature also marked her first storyboarding credit. She worked thereafter on almost every 2d animated feature the studio produced in the 1990s, as well as many projects that never went past development.”
She was best known for working with villains, helping to develop Jafar, Frollo, and Dr. Facilier. She was visual development supervisor on Lilo & Stitch, and visual development artist for Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, and Mulan. She was a storyboard artist on Piglet’s Big Movie, Fantasia 2000, and Bambi and the Great Prince of the Forest, starring Sir Patrick Stewart.
Before working for Disney, she was a model designer for My Little Pony and Muppet Babies. Other non-Disney work included being a storyboard artist for The Pagemaster, Her final movie was UglyDolls, for which she was a storyboard artist.
She attended (and later taught at) the California Institute of the Arts. She married Chester “JR” Maciorowski, with whom she had two children, Stephanie and Jonathan.
She has already been cremated and the ashes returned to her family.
Her work will outlive her. She is survived by her parents, Brian and Julie Nichols, her husband, Chester Maciorowski, her children, Stephanie and Jonathan Maciorowski, hundreds of students, and millions of fans. She was a role model for women in animation.
Susan Macdonald is the author of the children’s book “R is for Renaissance Faire”, as well as short stories in “Alternative Truths”, “Swords and Sorceress #30”, “Supernatural Colorado”, “Barbarian Crowns”, “Cat Tails””Under Western Stars”, and “Knee-High Drummond and the Durango Kid”. Her articles have appeared on SCIFI.radio’s web site, in The Inquisitr, and in The Millington Star. She enjoys Renaissance Faires (see book above), science fiction conventions, Highland Games, and Native American pow-wows.