Disneyland spokeswoman Suzi Brown confirmed a company statement saying Atencio died Sunday. No cause or place of death were given, but Atencio lived and worked in the Los Angeles area most of his life.
Atencio’s drawings on “Pinocchio” helped give Disney its permanent identity in film and culture. His contributions to “Pirates” included the words to the “Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life for Me)” song that is sung throughout the ride and by parkgoers for days after.
He was born Francis Xavier Atencio in Walsenburg, Colorado. But friends in his youth called him just “X,” the name he was known by the rest of his life.
He was still a teenager with a gift for drawing in 1938 when he began working for Disney, a company that was even younger than he was and had just one feature film — 1937’s “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” — to its name.
Atencio would see his work on the big screen in the company’s next two films in 1940, when he helped bring “Pinocchio” to life and worked on the musical and mystical “Fantasia” before leaving temporarily to serve in World War II.