The Motion Picture and Television Fund announced on Monday that Ann Sullivan, a longtime animator for Walt Disney Studios, became the third person to die from coronavirus at the organization’s nursing facility in Woodland Hills. She was 91.
Born in Fargo, North Dakota, and trained at the Art Center, Sullivan first got a job at Disney in the animation paint lab in the 1950s before leaving to start a family of four children. In 1973, she reentered the animation world with a job at Hanna-Barbera before eventually returning to Disney in time to work on ink and paint for some of the most famous films of the Disney Renaissance, including “The Little Mermaid” and “The Lion King.” She remained at the studio until her retirement in the early 2000s, working on films like “Lilo & Stitch” and even working in computer animation shortly before retiring.
“We called her ‘Giggles’ at MPTF. You couldn’t help but fall in love with her laugh,” MPTF wrote in a statement. The nursing home’s chaplain Dina Kuperstock added that Sullivan “had the best laugh of any person I’ve ever known. Ann didn’t just laugh with a sound. When she giggled, her whole body would shake and light up with joy, and it was contagious for everyone in the room.”
Actor Allen Garfield, 80, and John Breier, 64, the husband of a longtime IATSE member, died at the MPTF facility last week. Like many other nursing homes, the coronavirus outbreak has hit MPTF hard, as 13 other residents have tested positive for the virus, with 10 currently being treated in isolation units. Eight caretakers have also tested positive.