Jack Kinney (John Ryan Kinney)

Jack Kinney

According to Jeff Lenburg’s assessment of him, Jack Kinney was a veteran animator, who spend most of his career working at Walt Disney Productions (later known as the Walt Disney Animation Studios). He directed the first film in the Donald Duck series to win the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. Two other films directed by Kinney were nominated for the same award.  Kinney joined the Walt Disney studio on February 9, 1931. He was hired as an animator. He initially inked films for both the Mickey Mouse and Silly Symphony series of the studio. His film credits as an animator include The Band Concert (1935) and The Cookie Carnival (1935). Jack Kinney also served as a story director in films featuring Mickey Mouse and Pluto. His film credits in that role include Brave Little Tailor (1938), Mickey’s Trailer (1938), Society Dog Show (1939), and Bone Trouble (1940).  Kinney served as a sequence director on 10 of the Disney theatrical feature films. His credits in that role included Pinocchio (1940), Dumbo (1941), Saludos Amigos (1942), Victory Through Air Power (1943), The Three Caballeros (1944), Make Mine Music (1946), Fun and Fancy Free (1947), Melody Time (1948), and The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949) Starting in 1939, Kinney was promoted to the position of director for animated short films. He served as one of the main directors of the Donald Duck series, along with Jack King. The two directors shared responsibility for the series until King’s retirement in 1948. Kinney directed the short film Der Fuehrer’s Face (1943), which won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. The film was a wartime satire of Adolf Hitler, the dictator of Nazi Germany.

From 1940 to 1945, Jack Kinney was the main director of the Goofy series. He directed 40 animated shorts starring Goofy, starting with Goofy’s Glider (1940). His most notable creations for this series were the Goofy How to…, where the character demonstrated how to play various popular sports. Goofy’s efforts in these films had “predictably disastrous” results. The most notable among these films was How to Play Football (1944), which was nominated the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. It was the only film of the Goofy series to be nominated for the Award. It was also the second time a film directed by Kinney was nominated for the Award.  Another highlight of the Goofy series directed by Kinney was Motor Mania (1950). The film reportedly won several safety awards.

Kinney’s other director credits included a number of Walt Disney Specials. Among them were Pigs Is Pigs (1954), Casey Bats Again (1954), and Social Lion (1954). Pigs Is Pigs was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. It was the third and last film directed by Kinney to be nominated for the Award.  Another film credit for Kinney as a director was The Lone Chipmunks (1954). It was the last animated short film of the Chip ‘n’ Dale series. From 1954 to 1957, Kinney started directing television animation. He supervised new animation used to tie some of the old shorts together for the Walt Disney anthology television series, which was broadcast by the American Broadcasting Company (ABC). On March 13, 1958, Kinney departed from the Disney studio. He served at the Disney company for 27 years.  After Kinney left Disney, he started an independent animation studio, Kinney-Adelquist Productions, Inc. . His partner was Hal Adelquist, another Disney alum. According to animation historian Jeff Lenburg, the company was known as Jack Kinney Productions. Kinney directed an animated feature film for the UPA studio. It was 1001 Arabian Nights (1959) and featured Mr. Magoo.

Jack Kinney next partnered with his own brother Dick Kinney, to produce Popeye the Sailor (1960-1961), an animated television series. The series was shot in color.  Kinney resurfaced as a story writer for The New Three Stooges (1965), a television series which featured both live-action and animated segments. He was next hired as a story director by Hanna-Barbera, serving in this position from 1978 to 1982. He worked on several saturday-morning cartoons by the company. Among them were Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo (1979-1980) and The Scooby & Scrappy-Doo/Puppy Hour (1982-1983). In 1983, Kinney was awarded a Winsor McCay Award, in recognition for his lifetime of contribution to the art of animation. The award was created by the International Animated Film Society (also known as ASIFA-Hollywood).  In 1988, Jack Kinney published a short memoir, Walt Disney and Assorted Other Characters: An Unauthorized Account of the Early Years at Disney’s. The book served as his autobiography.  Kinney died on February 9, 1992 in Glendale, California at the age of 82. His death was reported as a death by natural causes.

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  • March, 29, 1909
  • USA
  • Utah


  • February, 09, 1992
  • USA
  • Glendale, California

Cause of Death

  • natural causes

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