Legendary animator Don Bluth is returning to his Utah roots (for 2 days) to meet with fans
A little over a week after his 86th birthday, Bluth is just one of roughly 100 featured guests at FanX Salt Lake Pop Culture & Comic Convention, an event that is now in its 10th year
Don Bluth was just a teenager when he got his first taste of working at Disney. He would go on to work for the entertainment juggernaut for roughly 10 years, putting his special touch on films like “Robin Hood,” “Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too,” and “The Rescuers.”
But amid changes at Disney, and as 3D/computer animation was starting to be developed, putting less of a focus on hand-drawn animation, Bluth decided to take a risk. He left Disney to form his own studio.
“I think he took some pretty big risks,” Kelly Loosli, a professor and the director of BYU’s Center for Animation, previously told the Deseret News. “Leaving Disney and going head-to-head with Disney took a lot of vision and conviction, a lot of entrepreneurial spirit. Not all of his films found their audience or were great, but he believed in himself and in the talent he could bring together to make animated films and games. He was bold and dedicated to the medium.”
Bluth’s earliest film post-Disney was “The Secret of NIMH.” Over the years, he would direct what have become beloved classics, including “An American Tail” (1986), “The Land Before Time” (1988), “All Dogs Go to Heaven” (1989), “Anastasia” (1997), and “Titan A.E” (2000).
But of all his accomplishments, Bluth said he is most proud of “staying alive.”
“I’ll be 85 in September,” he told the Deseret News last year.
Now, a little over a week after his 86th birthday, Bluth is just one of roughly 100 featured guests at FanX Salt Lake Pop Culture & Comic Convention, an event that is now in its 10th year.
How to meet Don Bluth at FanX
FanX is a homecoming of sorts for Bluth. The BYU grad was born in El Paso, Texas, but grew up on a dairy farm in Payson, Utah, according to his bio on the FanX website.
“When he was not milking cows, he was drawing cartoons. Animation captured his fancy and soon he was dreaming about working for Walt Disney,” the bio reads.
Bluth released an autobiography last year, “Somewhere Out There: My Animated Life.” In an interview with the Deseret News ahead of the book’s release, the director and animator said the project gave him a new appreciation for life.
“I’m absolutely at peace. Everything turned out just beautifully for me,” he said. “Things I used to dream about doing, those dreams came true. It’s really wonderful to dream a dream and have it come true. As I went back and wrote all these things down, that is when I gained a real appreciation of things in my life and the blessings that I have been given.”
Bluth will be meeting with fans in Salt Lake City on Sept. 22 and 23 at the Salt Palace Convention Center.
- Sept. 22 — Bluth will be doing autographs starting at 10 a.m. MDT. Photo ops begin at 4:30 p.m.
- Sept. 23 — Bluth will be doing autographs starting at 9:30 a.m. MDT. Photo ops begin at 4:40 p.m.
According to the FanX website, autographs and photo ops with Bluth each cost $80.
For more information, visit fanxsaltlake.com.