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Milt Kahl

Milt Kahl
Born Milton Erwin Kahl
(1909-03-22)March 22, 1909
San Francisco, California, United States
Died April 19, 1987(1987-04-19) (aged 78)
Mill Valley, California, United States
  • Julie Kahl (March 21, 1980 – April 19, 1987) (his death)
  • Phyllis Bounds Detiege (February 14, 1968 – 1978) (divorced)
  • Laura Nordquist Kahl (1934 – 1967) (her death)

Milton Erwin Kahl (March 22, 1909 – April 19, 1987) was an animator for the Disney studio, and one of Disney's Nine Old Men.

Kahl was born in San Francisco, California. He would often refine the characters sketches from Bill Peet with the ideas of Ken Anderson. For many years the final look for the characters in the Disney films were designed by Kahl, in his angular style inspired by Ronald Searle and Picasso. He is revered by contemporary masters of the form, such as Andreas Deja, and Brad Bird, who was his protégé at Disney in the early 1970s. In the behind-the-scenes feature "Fine Food and Film" shown on the Ratatouille DVD, Bird referred to Kahl as "tough", but in a gentle way, as he often gave Bird advice on where he could improve in animation whenever he came up short.

In the book The Animator's Survival Kit, the author Richard Williams makes repeated reference and anecdotes relating to Kahl. The centenary of Kahl's birth was honoured by the Academy on April 27, 2009, with a tribute entitled "Milt Kahl: The Animation Michelangelo" and featured Brad Bird as a panelist.[1]

Kahl died, aged 78, in Mill Valley, California.

Characters animated by Kahl

Characters animated by Kahl include the following.


  1. ^ "Milt Kahl: The Animation Michelangelo".  

External links

  • Milt Kahl at the Internet Movie Database
  • Disney Legends
  • "King Kahl: A personal look at Disney's master animator, Milt Kahl" by Floyd Norman (
  • A Milt Kahl lecture at CalArts from 1976 on The Animation Podcast
  • Interview with Kahl by Michael Barrier and Milton Gray
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