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February 23, 2024

Disney Legend Kent Melton Dead at 68

Kent Melton, the animation sculptor renowned for crafting clay maquettes of beloved characters featured in numerous films, including "Aladdin," "The Lion King," "Mulan," "The Incredibles," and "Coraline," has passed away at the age of 68.

Melton succumbed to Lewy body dementia on Thursday at his residence in Stone County, Missouri, as reported by family members to The Hollywood Reporter.

A prominent figure in the animation industry, Melton played a pivotal role during Disney's animation renaissance in the 1990s and later contributed to Laika Studios' success in stop-motion animation.

His expertise in translating two-dimensional drawings into three-dimensional models earned him the trust of animators across the industry.

His collaboration with Disney spanned numerous acclaimed films, including "Aladdin," "The Lion King," "Mulan," "Hercules," and "The Incredibles." Additionally, he lent his talents to Laika Studios, where he sculpted characters for "Coraline," "ParaNorman," and "The Boxtrolls."

In a 2015 interview with 417 Magazine, Melton explained the intricacies of his craft, describing a maquette as a model that embodies the essence of a character's personality and role in the story.

His meticulous attention to detail and ability to capture likeness and expression paved the way for the creation of iconic animated characters.

Born in Springfield, Missouri, Melton's passion for art developed during his upbringing on farms, although he never formally attended art school. He began his professional career at Hanna-Barbera as the company's inaugural staff sculptor before transitioning to freelance work for Warner Bros. and eventually joining Disney.

Melton's contributions extended beyond animation as he also crafted fine art sculptures for the Walt Disney Classics Collection, showcasing his versatility and artistic prowess.

He is survived by his wife, Martha; children Seth, Jordan, and Nellie, an artist and animator; and grandchildren Persephone, Toby, Juliet, and Charlie.

Reflecting on his lifelong dedication to art, Melton expressed his love for the creative process and the joy it brought him. His passion for sculpting, painting, and creating resonated throughout his career, leaving an indelible mark on the animation industry.

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