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Nisei Veterans Memorial Center hosts an evening with celebrated artist Willie Ito : Maui Now

Artist and animator, Willie Ito. (PC: Nisei Veterans Memorial Center)

The Nisei Veterans Memorial Center will host an evening with award-winning animator Willie Ito on Dec. 8.

This free event will take place at 5 p.m. at the center located at 665 Kahului Beach Road.

Artist Willie Ito was born in San Francisco in 1934. During World War II, his family was interned in concentration camps: first at the Tanforan Assembly Center in San Bruno, Calif., and later the Topaz War Relocation Center in Utah.


Ito was inspired to pursue a career in animation by seeing “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” in a movie theater as a child. He attended the Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles.

In the 1950s, Ito worked at the Walt Disney Animation Studios. He served as assistant to animator Iwao Takamoto on the film “Lady and the Tramp.” He later moved to Warner Bros. Cartoons where he worked with Chuck Jones and Friz Freleng.

In the 1960s, Ito began working at Hanna-Barbera Productions and remained there for 14 years. His credits include “The Jetsons,” “The Flintstones,” “The Yogi Bear Show,” and “Josie and the Pussy Cats.”


Ito returned to Disney in 1977 where he worked in the consumer products division. He retired from animation in July 1999. In addition to animation, Ito has illustrated several children’s books.

His professional awards include an Inkpot Award in 2014, and the Winsor McCay Award from the International Animated Film Society at the 48th annual Annie Awards in recognition of his accomplished career in animation.

“In the spirit of resilience and creativity, we welcome legendary animator Willie Ito, a living testament to the power of art and the human spirit,” said Deidre Tegarden, Nisei Veterans Memorial Center executive director. “This is a rare opportunity to celebrate not only his award-winning career but also the indomitable strength of a man who brought joy to the world, even in the face of adversity.”


Seating is limited for this talk-story and book-signing event. To register, call the center at 808-244-6862; or sign up online at www.NVMC.org.

Source: Maui News

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