Legendary Disney Storyman and Acclaimed Children's Book Author Bill Peet Dead At Age 87 Credits Include '101 Dalmatians' and 'Sword in the Stone' Bill Peet, the legendary Disney storyman who is credited with writing the animated classics "101 Dalmatians" and "Sword in the Stone," and the author/illustrator of 35 beloved children's books, passed away on Saturday (5/11) at the age of 87. He died at his home in Studio City due to complications from several long-term illnesses. According to John Canemaker, animation historian, author of the recently published Walt Disney's Nine Old Men and animation director for the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU, "Bill Peet was Walt Disney's greatest storyman and considered to be on a par with Walt himself in terms of telling strong stories with vibrant characters. Walt trusted Bill's storytelling powers so much that he assigned him to write the Studio's first script for an animated feature. And that film was '101 Dalmatians.' Bill completely storyboarded 'Dalmatians' by himself and it is considered to be one of the tightest, most fun and interesting narratives the Studio ever did." Peet joined the Studio in 1937 at the age of 22. He went to work immediately as an apprentice animator on the Studio's ambitious first feature, "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs." The following year, Peet moved into the story department and, over the next 27 years, contributed to such Disney classics as "Pinocchio," "Fantasia," "The Three Caballeros," "Song of the South," "Cinderella," "Peter Pan," "Alice in Wonderland," "Sleeping Beauty," and "The Jungle Book." During the 50s, he also worked on a variety of popular Disney shorts including "Susie, the Little Blue Coupe" and "Lambert, the Sheepish Lion." In 1959, Peet published his first children's book -- Hubert's Hare-Raising Adventure. In 1964, after completing some story work on Disney's "The Jungle Book," he left the Studio to pursue a full-time career as a children's book writer. The list of acclaimed books that he has written includes such popular titles as How Droofus the Dragon Lost His Head, The Spooky Tail of Prewitt Peacock, The Whump World, The Whingdingdilly, Cyrus the Unsinkable Serpent, Encore for an Elephant, and Cock-a-Doodle Dudley (his 35th and final book). Peet's books received all sorts of awards and have been translated into French, Japanese, Danish, Dutch, German, Afrikaans and even Braille. In 1989, he published his life story in the illustrated book, Bill Peet: An Autobiography, which earned him the Southern California Children's Book Writers medal and was named one of four Caldecott Honor Books. Born January 29, 1915 in Grandview, Indiana, Peet grew up in Indianapolis. During high school, he won a scholarship to the Herron Art Institute, now part of Indiana University. Following a brief stint at an Ohio greeting card company, Peet headed west to seek his fame and fortune as an artist and animator. Peet is survived by his wife of 64 years, Margaret; a son, William B. Peet, Jr., and three grandchildren -- Timothy J Peet, Michael James Peet and Jennifer Marie Peet. A second son, Stephen Peet, passed away in 1975 Private funeral services will be held this Wednesday at Forest Lawn, Hollywood Hills. There will be a public memorial service this Saturday, May 18th at 3 p.m. in the Church of the Hills (Forest Lawn Memorial Park, 6300 Forest Lawn Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90068). In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in his name to The Wilderness Society, 1615 M Street, NW, Washington D.C. 20036. --Posted May 13, 2002 ....this IS a sad day of US Disney Fans.... good buy my friend!