Biographical / Historical
Painter, animator, illustrator; Los Angeles, Calif. and New York, N.Y. Chris Ishii was born in 1919 in Carruthers, Calif. He attended Chouinard School of Art (now Cal Arts, Valencia, California) in Los Angeles and upon graduation worked for Walt Disney Studios until WWII. He was interned at Granada (Colorado) Concentration Camp and in 1943 joined the U.S. Army Intelligence service (1943-1946). During the war he participated in illustrating propaganda leaflets for the Burma, China, and India theatre. After the war, he returned to Los Angeles and worked for Disney Studios furnishing art and designs for "Fantasia." "The Reluctant Dragon," "Dumbo," and other short subjects. After leaving California for New York, he first worked for UPN and later as an independent animator. In 1951 he traveled to Paris on the GI Bill to study at the Académie Julian with Fernand Léger. He designed and directed countless commercials, industrial, educational, live-action and feature films. His designing credits include James Thurber's "A Unicorn in the Garden," Ludwig Bemelmans' "Madeline," and Academy Award winning "Gerald McBoing Boing." He also designed and directed several "Mr. McGoo" short subjects. One of his animations appeared in Woody Allen's "Annie Hall" (the Snow White sequence). He died in Westchester County, NY, on November 6, 2001.