Van Osten studied at the Philadelphia College of Art. In 1966, he played in the band Woody's Truck Stop, before forming the rock group Nazz with Todd Rundgren in 1967. Van Osten was the band's bass guitarist. He quit The Nazz in 1969.
Later, Van Osten became a writer and artist of Disney comics. From 1969 to 1976, he created Mickey Mouse and Goofy comics for the publisher Disney Studio, which produced comics for the European market. Starting in 1976, he was art director for Disney's comic strips department in the 1980s. After that, it seems that he has sporadically worked on new Disney comics, including some covers and the adaptation of the Atlantis: The Lost Empire film.
Van Osten created an N scale model railroad, the Rio Poco, that was featured in the June 1991 issue of Model Railroader magazine. The layout was influenced by fellow Disney employee John Olson.
Carson was just inducted into the Disney Legends this past August at the D23 Expo in Anaheim , Ca.
He was only 69 years old. Rest in Peace.