Brice Harvey Mack, who painted backgrounds for such iconic Disney features as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Pinocchio, passed away on Jan. 2 in Hollywood, Calif. at the age of 90. Spanning the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s, Mack’s career at Disney also included work on Fantasia, Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, Song of the South and Lady and the Tramp, not to mention the Oscar-winning 1942 short film Lend a Paw. His cartoons have appeared in such magazines as Ford Times, Colliers and True.
In addition to painting backgrounds, Mack also worked as a writer in the story department at Disney and created illustrations for children’s books based on the studio’s films. When World War II came about, he served as a navigator for the Air Transport Command, delivering aircraft, cargo and Personnel throughout the world before returning to the House of Mouse in 1945.
Mack left Disney in 1954 to start Era Prods., a commercial production company specializing in animation. He hired a number of Disney animators and continued to do work for the studio, including the first painting of the Disney castle for The Wonderful World of Disney television series. He later formed Unicorn Prods. and directed commercials and films. Features to his credit include 1977’s Jennifer, 1978’s Swap Meet, 1979’s Half a House and 1983’s /I>Rooster.
Along with cartoonist pals Dick Shaw and Virgil Partch, Mack threw notorious parties, once aboard a train car loaded onto a barge in route to Catalina Island. Another time, they put wheels on a character boat and drove it Las Vegas, where a crane lowered it into the pool at the Sands hotel. In 1961, they partied on the last Red Car ride from Los Angeles to Long Beach while animator Ward Kimball played with his Dixieland jazz band, The Firehouse Five Plus Two.
Academy Award-winning visual effects supervisor Kevin Mack had this to say about his father: ‘Brice Mack was loved and respected by everyone who knew him for his talent, enthusiasm and light-hearted nature. He was an amazing friend and mentor to a great many, and a devoted husband and father. He will be remembered for his quick and relentless humor, and his endless supply of amazing, unforgettable stories.’
Mack is also survived by sons Brice and Greg, wife Ginni and grandsons Jon, Ray and Danny.