Who was Ub Iwerks?
Ub Iwerks (full name: Ubbe Ert Iwerks, March 24, 1901 – July 7, 1971) was a two-time Academy Award winning American animator, cartoonist, character designer, inventor, and special effects technician, who co-created Oswald the Lucky Rabbit and Mickey Mouse with Walt Disney.
When he was 18 years old, Iwerks met and befriended Walt Disney who was a fellow employee at the Pesman-Rubin Commercial Art Studio in Kansas City. After an unsuccessful attempt to go into business for themselves in 1920, the two young artists went to work at the Kansas City Film Ad Company (which produced animated advertisements for local movie theaters).
After setting up his own Hollywood cartoon studio in 1923, Disney invited Iwerks to join the organization the following year. When the distributor of Disney’s popular Oswald the Lucky Rabbit cartoon series raided Disney’s staff in 1927, only Iwerks remained loyal to his old Kansas City colleague. The two men came up with a new cartoon character named Mickey Mouse.
Iwerks received Academy Awards for his technical achievements in 1960 and 1965 and an additional nomination for his special-effects work in Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds (1963).