Ron Clements

Ron Clements

Ron Clements was born in the sleepy Midwestern town of Sioux City, Iowa. Growing up in the '50s and '60s, Clements fell in love with the studio's string of iconic features released during that era, which included such classics as "Peter Pan" (1953), "Lady and the Tramp" (1955), and "Sleeping Beauty" (1959). By the time he graduated high school, Clements knew what he wanted to do with his life - make animated movies. With that goal in mind, he packed his bags and moved to California where he was quickly hired as an animator by Hanna-Barbera. In his few months with the studio, Clements had built up enough of a knowledge on the craft that when he applied to Disney's prestigious Talent Development Program, he was immediately accepted. The program was an apprenticeship of sorts, teaming newbie animators with veterans. During his time in the two-year program, Clements was fortunate enough to learn the craft from Frank Thomas, the legendary animator who just so happened to work on "Lady and the Tramp" and "Peter Pan" - two of the films Clements fell in love with as a young boy. By the late 1970s, Clements was working as an animator on the Disney features "The Rescuers" and "Pete's Dragon," but what he really wanted to do was direct. He received his opportunity in 1986 when he, along with several up-and-coming animators, including John Musker, directed the animated feature, "The Great Mouse Detective." The film was a critical hit and moderate success at the box office, thus instilling in Clements the confidence he needed to continue directing features. His next two films, "The Little Mermaid" and "Aladdin," both of which he co-wrote and co-directed with Musker, became two of the most celebrated animated features in the history of Disney Studios. By the early '90s, Clements was at the top of his game. Despite critical praise, however, his two films, "Hercules" (1997) and "Treasure Planet" (2002), were not very successful at the box office. With his career in a slump, Clements received a bit of good luck in the late 2000s after the public started longing for the 2-D animated movies of old. He and Musker satisfied the public's appetite for that classic style of animation with "The Princess and the Frog." Released in 2009, the film was a smash hit, and was nominated for three Oscars, including Best Animated Feature. With his career once again on the rise, Clements teamed up with Musker once again to co-write and direct "Moana." Set in Polynesia, the film is slated for a 2016 release.