Mike Gabriel is an animator and my 127th pick to be named a Disney Legend.
Gabriel is an American animator and film director, best known for his work at Walt Disney Animation Studios and as co-director of the Disney films The Rescuers Down Under (1990) and Pocahontas (1995). He was born in Long Beach, CA although he grew up in various small towns like Salina, Kansas while moving around due to his father's Air Force job.
Gabriel was very inspired with animation after watching Sleeping Beauty (1959) at the age of five. Soon after, he started drawing and practicing it for six hours every day to meet his goal as an Animation Director. It was in 1979 when he got his first chance to make his debut. Gabriel studied in the Character Animation program at the California Institute of the Arts. He originally began his career helping animate on The Fox and the Hound (1981) and later went on to animate on the 1982 animated short Fun with Mr. Future. He was mentored under Eric Larson's training program, and went on to work on the The Black Cauldron (1985). He also served as an animator on The Great Mouse Detective (1986) and Oliver and Company (1988). Hendel Butoy joined Gabriel to direct The Rescuers Down Under, a sequel to the successful 1977 Disney film The Rescuers, while Eric Goldberg and Gabriel collaborated on Pocahontas. Goldberg and Gabriel later reunited with each other in Wreck-It Ralph to work on animating Sour Bill.
In 2004, Gabriel directed an animated short for Disney entitled Lorenzo, a hybrid of traditional and computer animation about a lazy cat who has a spell cast on his tail that forces it to tango with him. Lorenzo was nominated for the 2005 Academy Award for Best Animated Short. It was also included in the Animation Show of Shows in 2004. His Disney filmography includes:
The Fox and the Hound
The Black Cauldron
The Great Mouse Detective
Oliver and Company
The Rescuers Down Under
Home on the Range
The Princess and the Frog
Winnie the Pooh