As a member of Disney's exclusive "Nine Old Men" artists, childlike and prankish animator Ward Kimball was responsible for designing such memorable Mouse House creations as Jiminy Cricket in addition to being the man behind the re-design of Mickey Mouse himself in his nearly 40-year tenure with the family friendly studio. Born in Minneapolis, MN, Kimball joined Disney in 1934 and had a hand in such beloved classic animated films as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), Fantasia (1940), Dumbo (1941), Alice in Wonderland (1951), and Peter Pan (1953). In his later years, the veteran animator would recall his days as a Disney animator as some of the best of his life. A creator of short films in addition to his work on features, Kimball's shorts Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom (1953) and It's Tough to Be a Bird (1969) garnered Academy Awards. Additionally, a trio of Disney television shows concerning space exploration that Kimball had written and directed were often cited as sparking interest in the NASA space program. A passionate trombonist in addition to his full-time career, Kimball founded the jazz group Firehouse Five Plus Two in addition to performing in a Dixieland band who made frequent appearances on-stage and in film. Married to wife Betty in 1936, the model train enthusiast built a full-sized and fully functional steam locomotive which ran on the couples' Southern California Ranch. Retired in 1973, Kimball nevertheless retained his ties with the studio following his departure. On July 8, 2002, Ward Kimball died of natural causes in Arcadia, CA. He was 88.