Henry Selick biography
Date of Birth: November 30, 1952
Born in Glenridge, New Jersey and raised in nearby Rumson, Henry Selick began drawing by age three and
attracted lots of attention with his early efforts. His sketches of heroes, lions and eagles brought
so much attention that by the fifth grade, he decided to give up art and avoid the spotlight.
Aside from the typical Disney classics, an early influence on his artistic style was the 1926 German
silent animated film by Lotte Reiniger, The Adventure of Prince Achmed. Stop-motion wizard Ray
Harryhausen also had an impact on the family impressionable youth, who began having nightmares about a
cyclops growing in the family fish tank after seeing The Seven Voyages of Sinbad.
In high school, Selick turned his creative energies towards music and became a member of a rock n' roll
band. By the age of 20, his interest in art and especially animation was re-ignited by a PBS program
featuring experimental films. After studying science for a year at Rutgers University, he switched to
an art as his major at Syracuse University.
To pursue his career goals in animation, Selick eventually enrolled at CalArts, where he became part
of the first group to go through the Disney character animation program. During that time, he also
studied experimental animation techniques with Jules Engel and made two award-winning student films -
Phases and Tube Tales.
Graduating from CasArts in 1977, Selick at Disney worked as an in-betweener and animator trainee on
such films as Pete's Dragon and The Small One. He became a full animator on The Fox and the Hound and
worked on the two title characters. The studio then enlisted him to help create the alien creature in
Disney's The Watcher in the Woods.
In 1979, Selick took eight months off to work on his own personal project - a nine minute stop-motion
and cel animated Seepage. The film won numerous awards, but Selick returned to Disney to work on
visual development for a variety of projects.
In 1986, the filmmaker started his own production company, Selick Projects (now Twitching Images), and
soon began producing a series of memorable station ID's and top of the hour segments for MTV. He
also worked on commercials for Pillsbury and Ritz Bits.
In 1990, Selick undertook an ambitious film project called Slow Bob in the Lower Dimension. The film
combined live action, stop animation and cut-out animation attracted a lot off attention and led Selick
to direct the full-length stop-motion film, The Nightmare Before Christmas. Years later, his skills
and direction was called upon to complete James and the Giant Peach (1996) and Monkeybone (2000).
Selick and his wife Heather live in Tiburon, California with their son.
James and the Giant Peach
The Nightmare Before Christmas
Henry Selick Filmography