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Andreas Deja (born 1 April 1962) is a Polish-born German-American character animator, most noted for his work at Walt Disney Animation Studios. Deja's work includes serving as supervising animator on characters in several Disney animated films, including the Disney villains Gaston in Beauty and the Beast, Jafar in Aladdin, Scar in The Lion King and the hero in Hercules.

Early lifeEdit

Deja was born 1957 in Gdańsk, Poland, but moved with his family to Dinslaken, Germany, in 1958. He credits seeing Disney's The Jungle Book as an 11-year-old with inspiring him to become an animator. After graduating from Theodor-Heuss Gymnasium (secondary school), he studied graphic design at the Folkwang Hochschule in Essen, Germany.

CareerEdit

A lifelong fan of Disney animated films, Deja was hired by the studio in 1980 after he had corresponded with Eric Larson, one of Disney's senior Nine Old Men of animation who ran the studio's training department. The first film on which he worked for was The Black Cauldron, during which time he shared a cubicle with future film director Tim Burton.

During his rookie days at Disney, Deja sought mentorship and practical advice from seven of the then-living Nine Old Men, who were already retired before his tenure. Deja has collected information on the Nine Old Men over the years, and has stated that one of his ambitions is to publish one book for each of the Nine Old Men.

Deja is best known as the supervising animator of some of the most memorable Disney villains: Gaston in Beauty and the Beast, Jafar in Aladdin, Scar in The Lion King and Queen Narissa in Enchanted. He also animated Roger Rabbit in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, King Triton in The Little Mermaid, the title character in Hercules, Lilo Pelekai in Lilo & Stitch, Mama Odie in The Princess and the Frog and Tigger in Winnie the Pooh. In addition, he is the current resident specialist for the animation of Mickey Mouse.

In 2006, at the 35th Annie Awards, Deja was awarded the Winsor McCay Award for outstanding contribution to the art of animation. In 2011, he began a blog where he shares some of his collection of the work of the early Disney animators.

He is currently working on the animated film Mushka with a planned release for 2017.

Personal lifeEdit

Deja is openly gay. His sexuality has been discussed as an influence on the development of some Disney characters.

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