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Tom Sito

Tom Sito
Sito at a September 16, 2013 lecture on the history of computer animation at the
SVA Theatre in Manhattan.
Born (1956-05-19) May 19, 1956
New York City
Occupation Animator, writer, historian, educator

Tom Sito (born May 19, 1956) is a well-known American animator, animation historian and teacher. He has been called a "key figure in the Disney Renaissance",[1] and one of the One Hundred Most Important People in Animation.[2]


  • Early life 1
  • Career 2
    • Books 2.1
  • Bibliography 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5

Early life

Tom Sito was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. He first learned animation while attending cartooning classes at the High School of Art and Design. He continued his studies in animation at The School of Visual Arts with Howard Beckerman, cartooning under Harvey Kurtzman, Gil Miret, Howard Beckerman and Robert Beverly Hale.[3][4] Sito graduated from SVA in 1977 with a BFA in Media Arts.[5] He met his wife, Pat, at SVA. He also studied life drawing at The Art Students League of New York under Robert Beverly Hale.


Sito worked on cartoons for Dixie Cups early in his career and also did some cartooning for Playboy. Sito assisted retired Disney animator Shamus Culhane on one of his final projects, a 1977 education short entitled Protection in the Nuclear Age. His first big break was when in 1976 he was hired by legendary animation director Richard Williams to work on his film Raggedy Ann & Andy: A Musical Adventure. There he met and worked with animation luminaries like Eric Goldberg, Art Babbitt,and John Canemaker. After several years doing commercial animation work in New York and Toronto, Sito relocated to Los Angeles and worked on TV projects like Super Friends for Hanna-Barbera (1978), He-Man and the Masters of the Universe[6] and Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids (1983–1985).

Tom Sito was summoned by his old mentor Richard Williams once more in 1987, to animate on Disney/Amblin's Academy Award-winning hit film Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Returning to Los Angeles in 1988, Sito became a mainstay of the Disney Feature Animation division, contributing to the classic films The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast,[7] Aladdin, The Lion King, Pocahontas, Fantasia 2000 and Dinosaur.

Sito left the Disney studio in 1995 to help set up the animation unit of DreamWorks SKG, later DreamWorks Animation. He worked on the films Antz, The Prince of Egypt, Paulie: A Parrot's Tale and for a time was the storyboard director of the first Shrek film. He was President of the Motion Picture Screen Cartoonist's Local 839 (later renamed The Animation Guild, I.A.T.S.E. Local 839) from 1992 to 2001,[8] where he was awarded the title President Emeritus. He co-directed the animation for the Warner Bros. 2001 movie Osmosis Jones, and contributed to other animated films such as Garfield (2005), the PBS TV series Click and Clack's As the Wrench Turns (2008), and the 2006 Taiwanese short Adventures in the NPM, which won first prize at the 2006 Tokyo Anime Festival.[9]

In 2009 Tom Sito was awarded the June Foray Award at ASIFA-Hollywood's Annie Awards for a lifetime of service to the animation community.[10]


Sito singing copies of his book, Moving Innovation: A History of Computer Animation.

In 2006 Tom Sito wrote Drawing the Line: The Untold Story of the Animation Unions from Bosko to Bart Simpson, which has been hailed as a seminal work on the history of the labor movement in American animation. The London Review of Books said "Sito's book contains the best account yet of the 1941 Walt Disney Strike, with documentation from the union side".[11] Sito also contributed the animation chapter to Dr. Paul Buhle's anthology Jews in American Popular Culture, and updated the classic animation how-to book Timing for Animation for Focal/Elsevier Press in 2009.

Tom Sito has lectured about animation around the world and has taught animation and animation history at UCLA Film School, The American Film Institute, Woodbury College, Santa Monica College. He is currently an instructor at the USC School of Cinematic Arts.


  • Walt's People Vol 9 Talking Disney with the Artists who Knew Him. Edited by Didier Ghez, XLibris Corporation 2010
  • The London Review of Books
  • The Art of Harvey Kurtzman: The Mad Genius of Comics by Denis Kitchen and Paul Buhle. Abrams/Comic Arts 2009
  • Making'Toons, Inside the Most Popular Animation TV Shows and Movies, by Allan Neuwirth, Allworth Press New York 2004
  • Disney's Art of Animation From Mickey Mouse to Beauty and the Beast, by Bob Thomas, Hyperion Press, 1991
  • Talking Animals and Other Funny People by Shamus Culhane, St Martin's Press, NYC, 1986
  • Drawing the Line: The Untold Story of the Animation Unions from Bosko to Bart Simpson, by Tom Sito University of Kentucky Press, Lexington 2006


  1. ^ Animation World Network, January 2001
  2. ^ Animation Magazine. November 1998
  3. ^ "Biography: About Tom". Retrieved September 12, 2013.
  4. ^ Kitchen, Denis; Buhle, Paul (2009). The Art of Harvey Kurtzman: The Mad Genius of Comics. Abrams/Comic Arts.
  5. ^ Schaller, Rhonda (Fall 2011). "Howard Beckerman & Tom Sito". Visual Arts Journal. School of Visual Arts. p. 18
  6. ^
  7. ^ Disney's Art of Animation, by Bob Thomas, Hyperion Press 1991, Page 190-191
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^

External links

  • Tom Sito's Blog
  • Tom Sito at the Internet Movie Database
  • Tom Sito's Author's Page
  • Tom Sito at USC
  • Animation Guild, Local 839 IATSE
  • ASIFA Hollywood
  • Tom Sito interviewed at FLIP animation magazine Retrieved March 2013
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