Story artist Roy Williams sketches Ginni posing as Tinker Bell. In a sad statement on how women's contributions are too often overlooked, for decades Roy was the only person ID'd in this photo, while Ginni (the actual subject and original model for Tinker Bell) was only listed as "unidentified Ink & Paint girl." © Disney
It is with a very heavy heart I write of the passing of dear Ginni Mack—the original model and inspiration for everyone's favorite fairy—Tinker Bell. Ginni was a long-time Artist and Supervisor within the Ink & Paint Department at the Walt Disney Studios. Her signature blonde hairstyle (usually tied-up in a bun with sweeping bangs) along with a pixie-ish twinkle in her eye and lilt of laughter in her voice, proved to be the perfect inspiration for Marc Davis and the artists as they formulated tiny Tink during the production of Peter Pan. Several other ladies supplemented movement for the character, but Ginni was the original model and true inspiration for Tink's final form.
(Photo on Right: Rough Suggestion Model Sheet for Tinker Bell by Marc Davis, based on Ginni Mack. © Disney)
Within the renowned Ink & Paint Department at Disney Studios, Ginni's talents and artistry contributed to many Disney films from the 1940s to the 1990s. Beginning in 1946, Ginni worked thru the production of Peter Pan (1953), before leaving to raise her family. In the 1970s, Ginni started her second career in animation as she was among a select group of talented Ink & Paint artists who were sought-out to return to Disney Studios to save animation with the production of Pete's Dragon (1977). As Paint Supervisor, Ginni oversaw the color and artistry of many later animated films and was part of the initial teams of women who transitioned into digital animation with the CAPS system at Disney. Ginni retired (again) early in 1991.
A dear and generous soul with a quick wit and bright smile, Ginni truly was the embodiment and spirit of Tinker Bell. Generations of fans owe so much to this talented and extraordinary lady - I am deeply honored by her friendship, and to have had a hand in bringing her contributions and talents within animation to light! Godspeed, Dearest Ginni!
Discovering the real Tinker Bell in 2012.