'Brother Bear' Co-Director Robert Walker Dies at 54

Robert Walker - P 2015
Courtesy of Everett Collection

Robert Walker - P 2015

The Canadian animator's credits in the Disney den include 'Beauty and the Beast,' 'Aladdin' and 'The Lion King.'

Disney artist Robert Walker, who co-directed the Oscar-nominated animated feature Brother Bear, died on April 1 in California. He was 54.

The Ottawa Citizen, which first reported Walker's death, indicated a heart attack as the likely cause of death. "He was just a down-to-earth, quiet, thoughtful guy who cared about the people around him,” Jim Walker added in tribute to his brother in the newspaper report.

Walker was born in Toronto, grew up in Ottawa and attended Sheridan College's animation program before being hired by Atkinson Film-Art after his graduation. His TV series credits there include The Raccoons and Dennis the Menace.

In 1989, Walker joined Disney Animation Studio in a Florida theme park as a layout artist. His movie credits at Disney include Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and The Lion King. Walker made his directorial debut on Brother Bear, which he co-directed with Aaron Blaise.

That animated feature, voiced by Joaquin Phoenix, Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas, earned over $250 million worldwide. Brother Bear lost out to Pixar's Finding Nemo in the best animated feature category at the Academy Awards.