Disney movies animator
LOS ANGELES — Xavier “X” Atencio, an animator behind early Disney movies, including “Pinocchio” and “Fantasia,” and “imagineer” behind such beloved Disneyland rides “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “The Haunted Mansion,” has died at age 98.
Disneyland spokeswoman Suzi Brown confirmed a company statement saying Atencio died Sunday. No cause or place of death were given, but Atencio lived and worked in the Los Angeles area most of his life.
Atencio’s drawings on “Pinocchio” helped give Disney its permanent identity in film and culture. His contributions to “Pirates” included the words to the “Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life for Me)” song that is sung throughout the ride and by parkgoers for days after.
He was born Francis Xavier Atencio in Walsenburg, Colo. But friends in his youth called him just “X,” the name he was known by the rest of his life.
He was still a teenager with a gift for drawing in 1938 when he began working for Disney.
Atencio in 1940 helped bring “Pinocchio” to life and worked on the musical and mystical “Fantasia” before leaving temporarily to serve in World War II.
After returning, he helped design stop-motion sequences for the Disney live action films “The Parent Trap” and “Mary Poppins.”
When the company’s work started including theme parks in the 1950s and 1960s, so did Atencio’s. He was an imagineer in the company’s parlance, helping design rides for Disneyland and Disney World. He wrote the story and song that play out on “Pirates” and “Haunted Mansion.”