Did you know that Disney Legend Floyd Norman has a documentary movie currently showing in select theaters around the country? Floyd Norman: An Animated Life, is a documentary directed by Michael Fiore and Erik Sharkey. Floyd Norman has worked on such Disney movies as The Jungle Book, Mary Poppins, Toy Story 2, and Sleeping Beauty to name a few. I was fortunate enough to attend a premiere screening, at the Walt Disney World Resort’s AMC Disney Springs Theaters, of the documentary followed by a meet-and-greet with Floyd Norman himself!
Floyd Norman is 81 years old but you would never know it. This awesome Disney Legend is full of life and creativity. When he was a young man, he worked with Walt Disney on many of his movies. After Walt Disney’s death in 1966, Floyd Norman left the Walt Disney Company to pursue other adventures. He returned to the Walt Disney Company in the 1990’s and was retired by the company when he turned 65. He began showing up to work at Disney Publishing Worldwide, where his wife Adrienne works. Adrienne created a new word, “Floydering,” to describe Floyd loitering around the offices answering questions and offering suggestions even though he was not on the Disney payroll. He did this for 16 years before being re-employed by the Disney Company.
Floyd Norman is the first African-American Animator to be employed by the Walt Disney Company in 1956. He has worked for the Disney Company, Hanna-Barbera, and Pixar. To add to his accolades, he also became the first African-American Animator to be named a Disney Legend, by Roy Disney, in 2007.
What an honor it was to meet a true Disney Legend. Floyd Norman is currently working on a Disney movie due to be released sometime next year. He told me that we must learn as much as we can in our lifetimes as our knowledge is what builds our legacy. Animation has changed drastically over the past 60 years. As an artist, Floyd Norman has had to adjust his knowledge-base many times throughout his career.
Floyd Norman’s career story is nothing short of amazing. The documentary starts out a bit slow as the foundation of Floyd Norman’s career is built. However, as the pace picks up and gains momentum, you will laugh, cry, and be surprised. If you are interested in learning something new about Disney history, then Floyd Norman: An Animated Life is a must-see documentary.
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