Fini Rudiger Littlejohn died on June 15 at the age of 89.
She was born Josephine Vogelbaum in Vienna, Austria in 1914 and changed her last name to Rudiger upon moving to New York in the late 1930s. Before coming to America, she attended art school in Vienna, performed in several stage productions and acted in the classic 1938 German film “Masquerade.” Once in New York, she designed and created window displays in various major department stores and illustrated children’s books.
Littlejohn later moved to Los Angeles and became the first woman to work creatively at Walt Disney Studios, but was laid off just before World War II. After marrying William Littlejohn and having two children, Toni and Steve, she continued painting murals for department store windows at home. The family bought a home in Malibu in 1957, close to the house where Josephine and William married.
In addition to her husband and children, she is survived by three grandchildren, Alessondra, Jesse and Zoe, and her two half-brothers Amos Vogel and Helmut Fried. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in Fini’s name to the Venice Family Clinic, 604 Rose Ave., Venice, CA 90291.