Ruthie Tompson, Industry Legend
MPTF is rich with unparalleled legacy. Around here, it doesn't take long to hear a story that is a true Hollywood legend or, in this case, about someone who is one…
"It's nice to see that even after all these years, the young generations still enjoy the Disney Films." Those words come from resident Ruthie Tompson, 102 years old and still full of youthful inspiration. Spending more than 40 years working for Walt Disney as an inker and scene planner on some classic animated films including Sleeping Beauty, Ruthie was also the first woman ever admitted into the camera guild and is considered an expert in the field of stop-action photography. Ruthie has earned her place as a Disney Legend.
As a young girl, Ruthie was lucky enough to live two doors down from Walt Disney's uncle just blocks away from Walt and Roy's small animation studio. Ruthie recalls that the neighborhood kids were "paid a quarter or 50 cents a day just to run and play games. Later, on her way to grammar school, Ruthie often walked by the studio and "stood there and stared…until someone invited me to come in." The painters revealed the process to a child whose destiny would be ever-linked to that moment of awe.
Years later, Walt Disney recognized Tompson working at a riding academy where he was learning to play polo and asked her to come work for him. When she told him she didn't know how to draw well, he replied, "Don't worry about it. We'll show you what we want you to do." Working on classics like Pinocchio, Fantasia and Dumbo, she was involved in "every single drawing, every single scene, every single cell we handled."
With a very active life here at MPTF, Ruthie has even learned Final Cut Pro at Channel 22, editing a lot of content for the channel: "I'm very curious," said Tompson, who also just learned to operate her new iPad. "I like being a part of something new, and working with the young ones to get them interested."