Milton Quon is a true pioneer in the arts. The Chinese American animator was part of Disney’s animation team during its golden age. He worked on “Fantasia,” “Walt of the Flowers,” and was the first assistant animator for “Dumbo.” He was the last of the animation team to still be alive, reports The Wrap. Unfortunately, he passed away at an unbelievable 105-years-old in his home in Torrance, California, on June 18, according to his son Mike Quon.
“Dad lived the full artist life,” Mike told The Wrap.
Milton Quon is survived by his wife Peggy, and his four children, Mike, Jeff, Tim and Sherrill, and his four grandchildren.
Milton Quon was born on August 22, 1913, in Los Angeles to Chinese immigrants. By 1939 he was hired by Disney to work as an animator. He worked on several films before leaving Disney in 1941 after the U.S entered World War II. But he would join Disney again after he did a stint illustrating repair manuals for aircraft used by the U.S Army. But his role at Disney changed. He no longer worked at the animation department for movies. Instead, he became the head of the studio’s publicity department where he illustrated promo material for films like “Song of the South.”
By 1951, he left Disney after he was hired by BBD&O, and became the first Chinese-American art director at a national advertising agency. This led to him teaching courses at Los Angeles Trade Tech Colleges in drawing and advertising from 1974-89.
But he retired from advertising but not working. He worked in Hollywood getting minor roles in movies, such as “Speed.” In the movie, he played a bus passenger.
From 2001 to 2007, he took part in a traveling exhibition called “Inspiring Lines: Chinese American Pioneers in the Commercial Arts.” The show was sponsored by the Chinese American Museum, who featured his art in a retrospective solo exhibition in 2005. And in 2017, the museum honored Quon the Historymakers Award for “Excellence in the Arts.”
In 2012, Quon was featured in Getty’s Pacific Standard Time Intiative’s “Round the Clock: Chinese American Artist Working in Los Angeles,” along with five other Chinese American artists.
In 2013, he was awarded the Golden Spike Award by the Chinese Historical Society of Southern California.
Rest in peace to this legendary Chinese American pioneer