Was part of the inner circle of Disney animators, known as the "nine old men". The other members were Frank Thomas, Ollie Johnston, Milt Kahl, Marc Davis, Eric Larson, Ward Kimball, John Lounsbery and Les Clark.
Before joining Disney in 1934, he was employed as a draftsman by Douglas Aircraft.
Served in the U.S. Air Force during World War II and won the Distinguished Flying Cross, having seen action in Africa, China, India and the South Pacific.
Retired from Walt Disney Productions in 1981.
Father of actors Bruce Reitherman, Robert Reitherman and Richard Reitherman.