Legendary American film producer, director, screenwriter, voice actor, animator, entrepreneur and entertainer ”Walt” Disney tragically died 15 December 1966 from acute circulatory collapse, caused by lung cancer. He was born December 5th, 1901. In 1906, when Walt was four, He moved to a farm in Marceline, Missouri. Here, Disney developed his love for drawing . The Disney family moved to Kansas City in 1911 where Walt and his younger sister Ruth attended the Benton Grammar School. At school he met Walter Pfeiffer who introduced Walt to the world of vaudeville and motion pictures. Before long Walt was spending more time at the Pfeiffers’ than at home. Walt also attended Saturday courses at the Kansas City Art Institute. In 1917, The Disney family moved to Chicago. Walt went to McKinley High School and took night courses at the Chicago Art Institute. He became the cartoonist for the school newspaper, drawing patriotic topics and focusing on World War I. in 1919 Walt moved back to Kansas City to begin his artistic career. He decided on a career as a newspaper artist, drawing political caricatures or comic strips. Walt also worked briefly at the Pesmen-Rubin Art Studio where he met cartoonist Ubbe Iwerks and they decided to start their own company together called, “Iwerks-Disney Commercial Artists”. However Disney & lwerks both Joined Kansas City Film Ad Company. where they made commercials based on cutout animations, Disney then became interested in animation, and decided to become an animator.
After reading the Edwin G. Lutz book Animated Cartoons: How They Are Made, Their Origin and Development, Disney considered cel animation instead of cutout animation & opened his own animation business, recruiting fellow co-worker Fred Harman, as his first employee. Walt and Harman then secured a deal with local theater owner Frank L. Newman, to screen their cartoons at his local theater, which they titled Laugh-O-Grams, these soon became popular and he Soon acquired his own studio. Disney and his brother Roy set up a cartoon studio in Hollywood. Disney’s New York distributor, wanted more live-action/animated shorts based upon Alice’s Wonderland, which began focusing more on the animated characters rather than Alice. In 1927 Disney created a new animated series, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, which became a popular figure and also develeloped a mouse character based on a mouse he had adopted as a pet while working in his Laugh-O-Gram studio . Ub Iwerks reworked the sketches made by Disney to make the character easier to animate although The voice and personality were provided by Disney himself until 1947. Originally named “Mortimer”, the mouse was later re-christened “Mickey”. Mortimer later became the name of Mickey’s rival for Minnie – taller than Mickey and speaking with a Brooklyn accent. The first animated shorts to feature Mickey were Plane Crazy and The Gallopin’ Gaucho. Disney added sound for the next cartoon Steamboat Willie, which became an instant success. Thanks to Plane Crazy, The Galloping Gaucho, Steamboat Willie Mickey’s popularity skyrocketed during the early 1930s. Next a series of musical shorts titled, Silly Symphonies were released in 1929. The first, The Skeleton Dance was entirely drawn and animated by Iwerks.
By 1932,the popularity of Silly Symphonies was decreasing. and Max Fleischer’s flapper cartoon character, Betty Boop, was gaining popularity among theater audiences. So Flowers and Trees was reshot in three-strip Technicolor, and it won the first Academy Award for Best Short Subject: Cartoons in 1932. Through Silly Symphonies, Disney also created his most successful cartoon short of all time, The Three Little Pigs, which featured the song “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf”.In 1932, Disney received a special Academy Award for the creation of “Mickey Mouse”, who was soon joined by characters likeDonald Duck, Goofy, and Pluto. Pluto and Donald became standalone cartoons in 1937, with Goofy following in 1939. Donald Duck, also teamed up with Mickey in the 1934 cartoon, Orphan’s Benefit, and became Disney’s second most popular character
In 1934 Disney began planning a full-length animated feature-length version of Snow White, This premiered on December 21, 1937 and went on to become the most successful motion picture of 1938. Following the success of Snow White, Disney received one full-size, and seven miniature Oscar statuettes and this ushered in a period known as the Golden Age of Animation during which Pinocchio Bambi, Fantasia, the Three Caballeros, and Dumbo were also made. In 1945. Disney was asked to make an educational film about the Amazon Basin, called The Amazon Awakens and also started making full-length dramatic films that mixed live action and animated scenes, including Song of the South and So Dear to My Heart. In the late 1940s, work began on Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella and Peter Pan. In 1948 the studio also made a series of live-action nature films, titled True-Life Adventures.
During the 1940s, Disney Visited Children’s Fairyland in Oakland, California and had the idea for an amusement park .This was originally intended to be built on a plot located across the street to the south of the studio. These original ideas developed into a concept for a larger enterprise that would become Disneyland, which was officially opened to the public in 1955. Walt Disney Productions also began expanding its other entertainment operations. In 1950, Treasure Island became the studio’s first all-live-action feature, soon followed by 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Old Yeller, The Shaggy Dog, Pollyanna, Swiss Family Robinson, The Absent-Minded Professor, and The Parent Trap. The studio also produced its first TV special, One Hour in Wonderland. During the 1960′s Disney made Lady and the Tramp, Sleeping Beauty, One Hundred and One Dalmatians and The Sword in the Stone. In early 1964, Disney announced plans to build Disney World a few miles southwest of Orlando, Florida. This was to include “the Magic Kingdom”, a larger, more elaborate version of Disneyland and would also feature a number of golf courses and resort hotels. The heart of Disney World, however, was to be the Experimental Prototype City (or Community) of Tomorrow,( EPCOT).
Sadly Walt Disney was a chain smoker his entire adult life, And a tumor was discovered in his left lung which was malignant and had spread throughout the entire left lung. Having removed the lung, doctors informed Disney that his life expectancy was six months to two years. After several chemotherapy sessions, Disney and his wife spent a short amount of time in Palm Springs, California. On November 30, Disney collapsed at his home and rushed to St. Joseph’s Disney’s final production was The Jungle Book and the animated short Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day, as well as the live-action musical feature The Happiest Millionaire, all released in 1967.
During his lifetime he received four honorary Academy Awards and won 22 Academy Awards from a total of 59 nominations, including a record four in one year, giving him more awards and nominations than any other individual in history. Disney also won seven Emmy Awards. In 1967 construction began on Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. His brother Roy Disney inaugurated the Magic Kingdom on October 1, 1971. and he also gave his name to the Disneyland in the U.S., as well as the international resorts Tokyo Disney Resort, Disneyland Paris, and Hong Kong Disneyland.