They weren't old -- at least, not when they got the name. But there were nine of them, and they were Walt Disney's right-hand men. With the passing of Ollie Johnston on April 14, the Nine Old Men, the legendary animators who created many of Disney's more unforgettable moments are all gone now. But they are far from forgotten, and the Insider wanted to pay tribute to these groundbreaking artists.
The Nine Old Men moniker was born in a joke by Walt, referring to President Franklin D. Roosevelt's nickname for the nine justices of the Supreme Court. At the time, the artists were pretty young -- in their 30s and 40s -- but the name stuck. The Nine Old Men, in concert with Walt's big dreams, may be said to have created the modern art of animation -- and rare is the film studio that could boast such an incredible aggregation of talent, with so little ego.