A veteran Disney host died at the age of 91 of a coronavirus and was the third resident of a California nursing home to die from the disease.
Ann Sullivan – who worked as a painter on Pocahontas (1995), The Lion King (1994) and The Little Mermaid – died Monday at the Film and Television Fund (MPTF) specialty nursing center in Woodland Hills.
Actor Allen Garfield, 80, and John Breier, 64 – the husband of a longtime member of the International Theater Employees Alliance (IATSE) – also died at home last week.
Another 13 residents tested positive for coronavirus at the Wasserman campus, which has 250 residents who have worked in the entertainment industry.
The first cases of the virus were reported by MPTF – a collection of chalets, villas and lodges surrounded by lush gardens – on March 31 and MPTF confirmed six others on April 3.
Ten are treated in isolation while three are in the West Hills Hospital. Eight staff members tested positive for COVID-19. They are mainly caregivers.
Ann Sullivan died on Monday at the Film and Television Fund (MPTF) specialty nursing center in Woodland Hills, California. She had a coronavirus
Sullivan – who worked on The Lion King (1994) has been described as “a remarkably gifted and resilient woman”
While nursing homes across the country are struggling to cope with the epidemic, MPTF president and CEO Bob Beitcher disagreed with people who believe it it is better to treat residents in private residences.
He said it was “unrealistic for families to provide the same level of care as they get here. Many are very sick, have multiple comorbidities and require 24-hour care. And the dislocation of moving them could be the end in themselves.
Allen Garfield, 80, also died at home for those in the entertainment industry
MPTF was founded by Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks and D.W. Griffith, to help people in the entertainment industry during difficult times and provide health care and services to 150,000 people annually.
The campus has a 200-seat theater, and 40 Harry’s Haven residents for dementia and Alzheimer’s – named after sponsor Kirk Douglas – include a common room with Hollywood memorabilia.
The 40 residents of the long-term care unit have 24/7 assistance.
It is not known why Sullivan lived at MPTF.
“There are good days and bad days. It was one of the bad days, “Beitcher told Deadline. “I expect there will be more before I cross the tunnel. We have people who work very long hours under stressful conditions, providing not only incredible care, but constant communication with family members.
“The industry can be proud to have supported us over the years so that we can provide this care to the most fragile and vulnerable and, in some cases, to the end of their lives with smooth and dignified transitions. “
He called Sullivan “a remarkably gifted and resilient woman”.
Sullivan was from Fargo, North Dakota, but Beitcher said she had managed “with grace and resilience” to make her dream come true at Disney.
She followed her sister Helen to California and, after studying at the Art Center in Pasadena, got a job at Walt Disney in the animation painting laboratory in the early 1950s. After a break from work to start a family, in 1973, she joined Filmation Hanna Barbera and in the 1980s, Walt Disney Studios where she worked on characters like The Prince and the Pauper, Tarzan and Fantasia.
Ann Sullivan worked as a painter on Pocahontas (1995) and The Little Mermaid
Later in his career, Sullivan worked in computer animation. She retired in the early 2000s.
As of Friday, Sullivan turned 91 and his family spoke to him via FaceTime.
She is survived by her four children, eight grandchildren and four great grandchildren.
Described as a “beach” mom by her daughter Shannon, because she took her loved ones to the beach on every occasion, she was known to love the sun and regularly enjoy walks.
The outdoors inspired his work and Sullivan painted the California coast early in his career. One of his favorite spots was the Nancy’s Garden bird sanctuary.
“Family was everything to her,” said Shannon.
Chaplain Dina Kuperstock said that she was nicknamed Giggles at home.
“She has had the best laugh of any person I have ever known,” said Kuperstock. “Ann didn’t just laugh with a sound. When she giggled, her whole body trembled and glowed with joy, and it was contagious to everyone in the room.
In California, there were more than 24,300 confirmed infections and 732 deaths Tuesday morning.
MPTF Wasserman is also the home of actor Allen Garfield, 80, and John Breier, 64 – the husband of a longtime member of IATSE.