Pinto Colvig (Vance DeBar Colvig)

Pinto Colvig

Pinto Colvig was born Vance DeBar Colvig in Jacksonville, Oregon, one of seven children of Judge William Mason Colvig (1845–1936) and wife Adelaide Birdseye Colvig (1856–1912). Although William Colvig was a pioneer, an attorney and a distinguished Oregonian, he was never actually a judge. Pinto graduated from Oregon State University in 1911 at age 18. After marrying Margaret Bourke Slavin (1892–1950) in 1916, he settled with his wife in San Francisco, where four of their five boys were born (their last son was born in Los Angeles). A lifelong smoker, Colvig was one of the pioneers in advocating warning labels about cancer risk on cigarette packages in the United States. Colvig was the father of the character and voice actor Vance Colvig, who also later portrayed Bozo the Clown on a live TV program. In 1916, Pinto Colvig worked with Byington Ford and Benjamin Thackston Knight at the Animated Film Corp in San Francisco. The company produced animated cartoons over a decade before Walt Disney did. As Colvig’s reputation grew, he worked for the Disney studio, the Warner Bros. animation studio, Fleischer Studios (Bluto, Gabby), and MGM, where he voiced a Munchkin in the 1939 release of The Wizard of Oz. He directed (along with Erdman Penner and Walt Pfeiffer) the 1937 Mickey Mouse short Mickey’s Amateurs and helped in the 1939 Looney Tunes cartoon Jeepers Creepers, as well as the 1942 cartoons Conrad the Sailor and Ding Dog Daddy.

Pinto Colvig is known as the original voice of Disney’s Goofy and the original Bozo the Clown, a part he played for a full decade beginning in 1946. It was during this period that Colvig recorded the “Filbert the Frog” song, which featured Colvig’s virtuoso use of the glottal stop as a musical instrument in itself. He is also the second known voice of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit.[6] Other notable characters he voiced include Practical Pig, the pig who built the “house of bricks” in the Disney short Three Little Pigs, as well as both Sleepy (who originally was supposed to be voiced by Sterling Holloway) and Grumpy in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and the barks for Pluto the dog. He also provided Ichabod Crane’s screams in The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad. In 1922, he created a newspaper cartoon panel titled “Life on the Radio Wave” for the San Francisco Chronicle. The feature ran 3-4 times per week on the newspaper’s radio page, and lasted six months. Pinto Colvig died of lung cancer on October 3, 1967, in Woodland Hills, California, at age 75. He was interred at Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City.

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  • September, 11, 1892
  • USA
  • Jacksonville, Oregon


  • October, 03, 1967
  • USA
  • Woodland Hills, California

Cause of Death

  • lung cancer


  • Holy Cross Cemetery
  • Culver City, California
  • USA

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