Legendary Disney Animator Dies at 73

Randy Fullmer
Credit: Disney, Fullmer Family

Randy Fullmer, a legendary Disney animator, has died at age 73. Fullmer was a special effects animator and helped bring about the Disney Renaissance. He began his career at Don Bluth Studio, the studio behind All Dog’s Go to Heaven, Secrets of  NHIM, the Fivel films, and Thumbelina.

ariel's sisters the little mermaid disney animated Attina, Alana, Adella, Aquata, Arista, Andrina ariels beginning

Credit: Disney

During his career at Disney he worked on groundbreaking films like Who Framed Roger Rabbit, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast and the Lion King. While special effects animation may notbsound like a glamorous job, think about what your favorite films would be like without them. If, for instance, there were no bubbles in Yhe Little Mermaid, or the African plains had no dust…they would have been seriously lacking. It’s one of those jobs that don’t earn a lot of glory, they aren’t the “superstar,” but you’d absolutely miss them if they were gone. Their behind the scenes work make the films special. Their contributions provide that extra touch to really stand out. Without them, the Disney RenaissanceDisney Renaissance that saved the company may not have ever happened.

lion king screencap

Credit: Disney

Fullmer was with the Walt Disney Company from 1987-2005. He was hired on a temporary contract for Who Framed Roger Rabbit. That temp job turned into an 18 year career. His Animation credits at the company include:

  • Effects animator on Oliver & Company (1988) and The Little Mermaid (1989);
  • Effects supervisor on The Rescuers Down Under (1990)
  • Visual effects supervisor on Beauty and the Beast (1991)
  • Artistic coordinator on The Lion King (1994) and The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996)
  • Producer on The Emperor’s New Groove (2000) and Chicken Little (2005).

After retiring from animation he went on to become a master guitar builder. In 2006 he launched Wyn Guitars and became a guitar supplier to many big names in the music industry. The wait list for one of his guitars was over 200 people long. He was even the subject of a documentary called Restrung that focused on his craft.

Randy Fullmer

Credit: Disney

Randy Fullmer was born on April, 27, 1950 in Randall Washington. He had an upper middle class upbringing and a childhood that encouraged him to dream. Fullmer passed away peacefully in his home on July, 10, 2023. He had suffered a long batter with cancer according to his family and is now at peace.


About Jill Bivins

Jill Bivins has been visiting Disney Parks since she was 2 years old and loves sharing her Disney adventures with the world. She likes to say Disney is in her blood and writing is in her bones — so any time she has the opportunity to combine these loves she is one happy camper! She has a deep abiding love for Epcot and as a die hard Star Wars fan has a serious love for Hollywood Studios as well. When she isn't exploring or writing about Disney Parks, Jill is homeschooling her 8 year old son, playing with her brand new baby son, or pretending to be a farmer on her family homestead (despite being unable to keep even a cactus alive). Find Jill on Instagram @minnieonmain.