In Search of John Parr Miller

A dashing John Parr Miller, left, joins fellow Disney artists Webb Smith, Mary Blair and Herbert Ryman for a glamorous night on the town in Rio de Janeiro in 1941 (photo from a Brazilian news article). Click image to enlarge.

John Parr Miller (1913-2004) was an extraordinary artist — a master of eye-appealing fluid lines and designs.  Witty, subtle pastel or pencil drawings tumbled forth, suffused with an ineffable charm.

Miller’s early mark was made at the Walt Disney Studio, as a stand-out character designer in the influential Character Model Department.  He was one of the artists in “El Grupo,” the creative team that accompanied Walt Disney on his 1941 goodwill tour of South America.

Films such as Pinocchio (1940), Fantasia (1940), The Reluctant Dragon (1941), Saludos Amigos (1943), The Three Caballeros (1945) benefitted greatly from his graphic abilities.  Starting in 1948, his talents were showcased in a new career as a beloved illustrator of many children’s books.

Here are two consecutive articles I wrote on the life and career of John Parr Miller for Cartoons, the International Journal of Animation, Volume 2, issue 2, Winter 2006 and Volume 3, issue 1, Spring 2007.

Click on image to open .pdf file of articles

To whet your appetite, here is a selection of J.P. Miller’s Disney drawings

For Saludos Amigos:

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and Fantasia:

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Here Miller is seen with James Bodrero, a colleague in Disney’s Character Model Dept., examining a ceramic figure on the South American tour.

Click image to enlarge.





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