Edle Bakke, A Disney Pioneer for Women in the Film Industry, Dies at 91

Edle Bakke

Edle Bakke has died at the age of 91. She was a leader in the world of film animation with a long history with the Walt Disney Company.

When Edle Bakke graduated from North Hollywood High School in 1945, she was in search of a job. Not too long after her search began, the Walt Disney Company hired her as a secretary for the all-female Ink & Paint department. This was the beginning of a magical pairing that would make Bakke a pioneer for women in her field.

After she was hired, she moved to work closely with Ward Kimball on “Man in Space,” a 1955 installment of The Magical World of Disney series. She later noted how she sat in on these meetings with Walt Disney, who didn’t like to see anyone taking notes. She would sit behind a tall screen and quickly jotted down as much of the conversations as she could.

Bakke then became the first person at Walt Disney Studios trained to be a live-action script supervisor. This involved her with projects such as Old Yeller (1957) and Toby Tyler or Ten Weeks With a Circus (1960) and TV shows like Davy CrockettSpin & MartyThe Hardy BoysZorro, and The Mickey Mouse Club.

Of course, it didn’t stop there. Edle went on to work on Gunsmoke from 1961-70, worked on the movies Hatari! (1962), Escape to Witch Mountain (1975), Being There (1979), Tron (1982) and Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983) and did MacGyver for a season before retiring in 1987. When she retired, she dedicated her time to her family in Southern California while enjoying the life she had created.

In August 2017, Edle Bakke was among a group of women honored by Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The Academy wanted to recognize women who paved the way in the animated film industry. Bakke was also featured in Mindy Johnson’s 2017 book, Ink & Paint: The Women of Walt Disney’s Animation.

She is survived by her sister and niece, among many other in her family.

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