Mickey Mouse's official portrait painter, JOHN HENCH, has died of a heart attack at a hospital in Burbank, California.

Hench, who was 91, worked for Walt Disney for 65 years after originally signing on as a sketch artist for the film Fantasia in 1939.

He was involved in the storyboard, editing and special effects on films like DUMBO, Cinderella and Peter Pan. He was also instrumental in the design of Disney themeparks and resorts.

His hard work earned him the official title of Mickey Mouse's portrait painter - a role bestowed on him by Disney creator Walt Disney.

Hench was still an employee at Disney Studios until two weeks ago, when he was taken ill.

08/02/2004 10:44