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In 1976 Betsy began her formal training at the Walt Disney Studios, as part of the newly assembled animation trainee program. A fortuitous interview with Donald Duckwall and the famed animator Eric Larson, along with Betsy’s portfolio and ‘spunk’ opened an opportunity for her first two month trial period. It paid off and Betsy was assigned to the great ‘character’ animator Cliff Nordberg and was soon working on her first animated feature, ‘The Rescuers’.

‘Pete’s Dragon’ came along next and while assisting in the animation, Betsy’s dance background and innate flexibility proved to be essential as she began providing choreography, facial expressions and walk cycles for Elliot the dragon.

The combination of animating the characters and providing character movement developed as she continued work on ‘The Small One’, ‘Mickey’s Christmas Carol’, ‘The Fox & The Hound’ for Disney, and ‘Banjo the Woodpile Cat’ for Don Bluthe. Betsy’s experience and knowledge of animation impacted her choreography for other Disney animated films such as ‘The Emperor’s New Groove’ and most recently ‘The Princess and the Frog’.


While working as an animator at Disney, Betsy toured as a spokesperson for animated features, including a one-woman, 36 city promotional tour for Bambi, featuring her dance with Thumper. Following her move to New York City at age 26 and for the next 15 years, Betsy began working with the Disney Channel and Disneyland promoting special events, producing ‘live’ character shows and teaching animation workshops at schools across the country.

Her focus always remained on character movement, early comic inspirations and how to apply this to our own characters. This led to art instruction programs such as ‘Off The Canvas’, with teachers in southern California and ‘Cable In The Classroom’, teaching thousands of students across the country simultaneously through the cable networks. She continues to entertain groups of all ages at events such as the Motion Picture Academy, the Walker Arts Museum and the renowned Arizona Biltmore Hotel.

Betsy’s understanding of animation and body language has proven an indispensable tool for the character design and development she provided for many projects, such as the Coca Cola Polar Bear’s, the Betsy Bird on the Muppet Show, the mountain lion family for Homeland Security and Jimmy Buffett’s parrots, as well as her own Christmas ornament lines for Kurt Adler.