Gary Trousdale was born in La Crescenta, California. His fascination with animation was fostered as a child, where he drew cartoons from an elementary school age. He planned to become an architect, but decided instead to study animation at CalArts, where he studied for three years. He was hired in 1982 to design storyboards and do other animation. He then went to work designing restaurant menus and t-shirts. He was hired in 1985 by Disney to work on "The Black Cauldron," and continued his relationship with the company for years. He gained true prominence in his field with the success of his animated film directorial debut "Beauty and the Beast," which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture. He continues to work with Disney, and lives in the San Fernando Valley, a suburban area of Los Angeles, California.