Alwyn Walter Peregoy was born in Los Angeles in 1925. At age nine he began his formal art training at the California College of Arts and Crafts in Berkeley; at age 12 he returned to Los Angeles with his parents and enrolled in Chouinard Art Institute; at 17 he dropped out of high school and went to work for Disney Studios.
After serving in the U.S. Coast Guard during World War II, he further studied in Mexico at University de Belles Artes and in Paris. Walt Peregoy “spent three years in Paris studying painting, mostly with Fernand Leger (1881 - 1955). His sketchbooks at the time reflect the strong influence of Fernand Léger, and in fact, Léger offered to sign one of Peregoy’s sketchbooks because he was so impressed with the young artist’s work.” (Amid Amidi in Cartoon Modern).
There is not much known about Peregoy’s time studying under the French Modernist except that like Legér, Peregoy also limited himself to simple shapes, painted in strong colors. Moreover, technical objects and machines are featured prominently in the films he worked on. He got to France aboard the Queen Elizabeth in 1948/49 and met his future wife, Madeleine Arneau, shortly after he arrived in Paris.
A few years before, (1940-45) Léger lived and worked in the United States, where he reportedly started painting free-form color areas influenced by the light of neon signs around Times Square. Back in France he joined the French Communist Party and began to paint clearer silhouettes and heroic figures.
In 1951 he returned to the U.S. and continued working for Disney.
Peregoy's unique style meshed well with that of Eyvind Earle (1916-2000) his contemporary and stylist. Peregoy and Earle's work on Paul Bunyan (1958) was nominated for an Academy Award in the short category. Their unique style of animation on Paul Bunyan was a departure for Disney. Peregoy continued to work at Disney for an additional 14 years.
Peregoy was lead background painter on Sleeping Beauty (1959), color stylist and background artist on One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961) and The Sword in the Stone (1963).
After working for Format Films, and several years at Hanna-Barbera, he returned to Disney (WED Enterprises in 1977 through 1983) where he contributed his unique view to the design of Epcot Center in Florida in the architectural facades, sculptures, fountains, show rides and murals for The Land and "Imagination!" (formerly The journey into the Imagination) pavilions.
Along with Marc Davis, Eyvind Earle and Joshua Meador, Peregoy was one of the featured artists in Disney's Four Artists Paint One Tree documentary on how each artist can bring a unique approach to a single subject matter.
One Man shows:
Stockton Museum, California
The University of Santa Clara, California
Galerie de Tour, San Francisco, California
Rutherford Gallery, San Francisco, California
Chouinard Art Institute, Los Angeles, California
Landau Gallery, Los Angeles, California
Dickie Hall Gallery, Laguna, California
Jack Carr Gallery, Pasadena, California
National Gallery of Art
Library of Congress and the
Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
He taught Background Styling at Brandes Art Institute from 1984–1985 as well as Principle of Drawing. the last years of his life, he continued to draw and paint in the Los Angeles area.