WALT DISNEY Real name: Walter Elias Disney. Date of Birth : 5 December 1901, Chicago, USA. Date of Death : 15 December 1966.
Who Was He? Film Producer Director Screenwriter Voice Actor Animator Entrepreneur Entertainer International Icon Philanthropist
As the co-founder (with his brother Roy O. Disney) of Walt Disney Productions, Disney became one of the best-known motion picture producers in the world.
The corporation he co-founded, now known as The Walt Disney Company, today has annual revenues of approximately U.S. $35 billion.
1901–1937: The beginnings
Laugh-O-Gram Studio In January 1920, Disney formed a short-lived company called, “Disney Commercial Artists". However, following a rough start, Disney left to earn money at Kansas City Film Ad Company. While working for the Kansas City Film Ad Company, where he made commercials based on cutout animation, Disney took up an interest in the field of animation, and decided to become an animator.
Walt eventually decided to open his own animation business. Walt then secured a deal with local theater owner Frank L. Newman-arguably the most popular "showman" in the Kansas City area at the time-to screen their cartoons which they titled "Laugh-O-Grams" at his local theater. Presented as "Newman Laugh-O-Grams",Disney's cartoons became widely popular in the Kansas City area. Through their success, Disney was able to acquire his own studio, also called “Laugh-O-Gram”.
Mickey Mouse After losing the rights to Oswald, Disney felt the need to develop a new character to replace him. He based the character on a mouse he had adopted as a pet while working in a Kansas City studio. UbIwerks reworked on the sketches made by Disney so that it was easier to animate it. However, Mickey's voice and personality was provided by Disney. "Ub designed Mickey's physical appearance, but Walt gave him his soul” The mouse was originally named "Mortimer", but later christened "Mickey Mouse" by Lillian Disney. Mortimer later became the name of Mickey's rival for Minnie. The first animated short with Mickey in it was titled, Plane Crazy, which was a silent film.
Disney created a Mickey cartoon with sound called Steamboat Willie. Steamboat Willie became an instant success. Plane Crazy, The Galloping Gaucho, and all future Mickey cartoons were released with soundtracks. Disney himself provided the vocal effects for the earliest cartoons and performed as the voice of Mickey Mouse until 1946. Mickey's popularity would now skyrocket in the early 1930s.
First Academy Award In 1932, Disney received a special Academy Award for the creation of "Mickey Mouse", and soon launched spin-off series for supporting characters such as Donald Duck, Goofy, and Pluto. Of all of Mickey's partners, Donald Duck was arguably the most popular, and went on to become Disney's second most successful cartoon character of all time.
1937–1955: The Golden Age of Animation
Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs After the creation of two cartoon series, Disney soon began plans for a full-length feature in 1934. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, as the feature was named, was in full production from 1934 until mid-1937. The finished film premiered at the Carthay Circle Theater on December 21, 1937; at the conclusion of the film, the audience gave Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs a standing ovation. The film became the most successful motion picture of 1938 and earned over $8 million in its original theatrical release.
The success of Snow White, (for which Disney received one full-size and seven miniature Oscar statuettes) allowed Disney to build a new campus for the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, which opened for business on December 24, 1939. Snow White was not only the peak of Disney's success, but it also ushered in a period that would later be known as the Golden Age of Animation for Disney.
1955–Present: Theme parks and beyond
Planning Disneyland On a business trip to Chicago in the late-1940s, Disney drew sketches of his ideas for an amusement park where he envisioned his employees spending time with their children. He got his idea for a children's theme park after visiting Children's Fairyland in Oakland, California. Disney spent five years of his life developing Disneyland and created a new subsidiary of his company, called WED Enterprises, to carry out the planning and production of the park. A small group of Disney studio employees joined the Disneyland development project as engineers and planners.
Disneyland grand opening Disneyland officially opened July 17, 1955. Walt gave the following opening day speech: “ To all who come to this happy place; welcome. Disneyland is your land. Here age relives fond memories of the past ... and here youth may savor the challenge and promise of the future. Disneyland is dedicated to the ideals, the dreams and the hard facts that have created America ... with the hope that it will be a source of joy and inspiration to all the world”.
Death Disney died of lung cancer on December 15, 1966, a few years prior to the opening of Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. The final productions in which Disney had an active role were the animated feature “The Jungle Book”and the live-action musical comedy “The Happiest Millionaire”, both released in 1967.
The Disney Entertainment Empire The Walt Disney Company today owns, among other assets, five vacation resorts, eleven theme parks, two water parks, thirty-nine hotels, eight motion picture studios, six record labels, eleven cable television networks, and one terrestrial television network.