JohnHench, the longtime Disney artist and official portrait artist of Mickey Mouse,died of heart failure earlier today (5) at Providence Saint Joseph MedicalCentre in Burbank following a brief illness. He was 95.

Henchwas born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Jun 28 1908 and grew up in southernCalifornia. After attending the California School of Fine Arts in San Franciscoand the Chouinard Institute in Los Angeles he began work for Walt Disney in May1939 as a sketch artist on Fantasia.

Hewent on to work as a layout painter on Dumbo (1941) and served in many othercapacities on numerous titles including The Three Caballeros (1945), Cinderella(1950) and Peter Pan (1953).

Henchreceived the lead title special effects credits on 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, which won the Academy Award forspecial effects in 1954.

He later became the official portrait artist of MickeyMouse and also worked with Salvador Dali on the incomplete short film Destino,which has just been nominated for the best animated short Academy Award, andcollaborated on theme park design.

Hewas named a Disney Legend in 1990, a prestigious Walt Disney Company honour,and earlier this month received the Winsor McCay award from the InternationalAnimated Film Society in recognition of his career achievements.