Walt Disney

Walt Disney

Highest Rated: 100% Old Yeller (1957)

Lowest Rated: 36% Babes in Toyland (1961)

Birthday: Dec 5, 1901

Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, USA

Walt Disney was an American entrepreneur, animator, voice actor, and film producer who almost singlehandedly revolutionized the animation industry, creating a number of indelible characters and films that remain iconic to this day, while the Disney brand, with it's creator's mission statement of providing imaginative, feel-good entertainment for the entire family, is still going strong after nearly a century. Not only is Walt Disney an icon of the entertainment business, he is an all-around American icon. Born Walter Elias Disney on December 5, 1901 in Chicago, IL, Disney was the fourth son born to Elias Disney and Flora Call Disney. He had three older brothers; Herbert, Raymond, and Roy. In 1903, the youngest child, Ruth, was born. When Disney was four, his family moved to a farm in Marceline, Missouri. It was here that Disney developed his interest in drawing, starting when he was paid to draw the horse of the local doctor. He would practice by copying the front-page cartoons from his fathers' copies of Appeal to Reason magazine, and soon became proficient in watercolors and crayons. The Disney family moved to Kansas City, Missouri in 1911. While attending Benton Grammar School, Disney met fellow student Walter Pfeiffer, who became his best friend, and introduced young Walt to vaudeville and motion pictures. Around this time, Disney also began to show his entrepreneurial spirit: he and his brother Roy each purchased a newspaper route from the Kansas City Star and the Kansas City Times. For more than six years, the brothers would wake up at 4:30am every morning to deliver the Times before school, and then repeat the route that evening for the Star. Because of this, Disney often fell asleep during class, and his grades suffered. During this time, Disney also attended Saturday courses at the Kansas City Art Institute, and took a correspondence course in cartooning. In 1917, the Disney family moved back to Chicago, after Elias bought stock in a local jelly company. Disney attended high school at McKinley High, where he was the cartoonist for the school paper, and often drew patriotic scenes about the first World War. He also continued his drawing education with night classes at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts. Disney wanted to enlist in the Army and fight the Germans, but he was too young. After forging the date on his birth certificate, Disney was able to join the Red Cross, where he worked as an ambulance driver (he was in the same company as future McDonalds founder Ray Kroc). However, when he was finally shipped off to France, he arrived after the armistice. While in France, some of his cartoons were published in the army newspaper Stars and Stripes. Upon returning to Kansas City in October of 1919, Disney got a job as a commercial illustrator at the Pesmen-Rubin Commercial Art Studio. It was there that he became friends with fellow artist Ub Iwerks, who would become Disney's most important early collaborator. Disney and Iwerks were both laid off from Pesmen-Rubin in January 1920, at which point they briefly tried to start their own business, Iwerks-Disney Commercial Artists. When that didn't pan out, they both found employment at the Kansas City Film Ad Company, where both men first became interested in cel animation. After parting ways with the Ad Company, Disney and a fellow artist, Fred Harman, began producing a series of short cartoons for the local Newman Theater, modernized takes on fairy tales which they dubbed "Laugh-O-Grams." In May of 1921, Disney, along with Iwerks, Rudolf Ising, and Fred Harman and brother Hugh, founded Laugh-O-Gram Studios. Unfortunately, they were not able to churn out content fast enough to keep the company financially solvent, and shortly after finishing work on "Alice's Wonderland" (1923), a 12-and-a-half minute short based on Lewis Carroll's classic, the company filed for bankruptcy. Disney then decided to move to Los Angeles, partially in order to be closer to his brother Roy, who was on the west coast convalescing from tuberculosis. The brothers founded the Walt Disney Company in late 1923, and signed a contract with film distributor Margaret J. Winkler to release "Alice's Wonderland" as well as six more shorts, with an option for two further series of six episodes each. Disney convinced Iwerks to come to Hollywood in July of 1924. The next year, Disney married Lillian Bond, an ink artist he had hired shortly after the New Year. Lillian proved to be a grounding presence in Disney's life, and the couple would go on to have a daughter, Diane, and adopt another child, Sharon. In 1927, Winkler handed over distribution of Disney's Alice series to her husband, Charles Mintz, who often butted heads with Disney. After the Alice series ended in July of 1927, Disney and Iwerks created a series of shorts based around their newest character, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, to be distributed by Mintz via Universal Pictures. Despite the success of this new series, the deal fell apart when Mintz pulled a series of power moves, first reducing Disney's producer fee, then buying up the intellectual property rites to Oswald, then stealing away a number of Disney's best artists. When Mintz threatened to start his own studio and produce the Oswald series himself, Disney called his bluff, but lost most of his animation staff, except for Iwerks. The pair soon began developing a successor to Oswald, with Iwerks suggesting a mouse. Disney came up with the name Mortimer Mouse, but his wife found the name to be pompous, and suggested that they go with Mickey instead. Iwerks drew Mickey, while Disney provided his voice. With the release of "The Jazz Singer" (1927) and the advent of talkies, Disney and Iwerks utilized sync sound to produce the first Mickey Mouse short, "Steamboat Willie" (1928). Distributed by former Universal Pictures executive Pat Powers, founder of the "Powers Cinephone" system, the short was an instant success. With the help of composer and arranger Carl Stalling, Disney developed the Silly Symphony series. The first installment, "The Skeleton Dance" (1929) was drawn and animated entirely by Iwerks. Disney then hired a number of local artists, who would eventually become known to animation aficionados as the Nine Old Men. In the wake of the runaway success of both Mickey Mouse and the Silly Symphonies, Disney felt that he was being denied the rightful share of profits from Powers. When Disney asked him for an increase in payment for his work, Powers balked, and to twist the knife deeper, hired Iwerks to work for him. Soon after, Stalling resigned, believing that the Walt Disney Company didn't stand a chance without Iwerks. All of the stress of this period lead to Disney suffering a nervous breakdown in October of 1931, shortly thereafter he and Lillian took an extended holiday in Cuba and Panama to recover. Before long, Disney came back stronger than ever, signing a distribution contract with Columbia Pictures, and releasing the very first Technicolor animated short, "Flowers and Trees" (1932). The short would win Disney his first Academy Award the following year, plus an honorary Award "for the creation of Mickey Mouse." To this day, Disney holds the record for most Academy Award nominations and Academy Award wins for a single person: he won 22 Oscars, and was nominated a staggering 59 times. However, despite this success, Disney was becoming bored with short films, and soon set his sights on making his first full-length cartoon, "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" (1937). Despite industry predictions that the film would bankrupt the company, it was an instant classic, beloved by critics and audiences alike upon its release in December of 1937. Thus began what would become known as the Golden Age of Animation. The studio next began work on two new features, "Pinocchio" (1940) and "Fantasia" (1940). Though they are considered classics today, neither film was very successful when they first opened, largely due to a dropoff in revenues from Europe since World War II began in 1939. The double box office bombs left the country deeply in debt by the end of February 1941. Luckily, the studio's next feature, "Dumbo" (1941), was a critical and box office success. Shortly after "Dumbo" hit theaters, America entered World War II. Disney, an avowed patriot, formed the Walt Disney Training Films Unit in order to make instructional films for the military, promotional films starring Donald Duck designed to sell war bonds, and a number of propaganda shorts, including the Oscar winning "Der Fuehrer's Face" (1943). These films helped keep the Disney Company afloat financially during the early 1940s - they had lost $200,000 on "Bambi" (1942), and soon racked up a debt of $4 million with the Bank of America. After the war ended, Disney more or less phased out the production of shorts entirely, deciding that features were more lucrative in the long run. In 1950, Disney released "Cinderella" (1950), the studio's first animated feature in eight years. The film was a smash hit, as were their first forays into live action features, "Treasure Island" (1950) and "The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men" (1952), both of which Disney were closely involved in. From here on in, Disney would devote less and less attention to his studio's animated films, largely entrusting such projects as "Alice in Wonderland" (1951) and "Peter Pan" (1953) to the Nine Old Men. In 1954, Disney broke ground on what would become his first major theme park, Disneyland, in Anaheim, California. The park opened in July of 1955, and despite early minor setbacks, Disneyland attracted 3.6 million guests in its opening year. The opening day of Disneyland had been broadcast on ABC, and this lead to Disney becoming interested in television production. First up was "Walt Disney's Disneyland" (ABC, 1955-), an anthology of cartoons, live-action features, and other ephemera from Disney's library. Newsweek called the series "an American institution," and the positive ratings convinced ABC to green light "The Mickey Mouse Club" (ABC, 1955-1996), Disney's first daily TV program. Disney was now increasingly focusing his efforts on projects that took him away from the studio. He created a short film, "America the Beautiful" (1959), as part of the 1959 American National Exhibition in Moscow, where he also acted as consultant. He also served as chairman of the Pageantry Committee for the 1960 Winter Olympics, designing the opening, closing, and medal ceremonies. Meanwhile, the Disney Company continued churning out highly successful animated films, often with little input from Disney himself, including "Lady and the Tramp" (1955), "Sleeping Beauty" (1959), "101 Dalmatians" (1961), and "The Sword in the Stone" (1963). Towards the end of his life, Disney wanted to create further theme park attractions to match the success of Disneyland. He briefly considered building a ski resort in Mineral King, a glacial valley in the Sierra Nevadas. However, he soon decided on Orlando, Florida as the location for his next attraction, and in late 1965, he announced plans to begin developing "Disney World." This bigger and more elaborate counterpart to Disneyland would include "the Magic Kingdom," as well as Disney's pet project, the "Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow," commonly known as EPCOT. Disney spent much of the second half of 1966 looking for businesses to sponsor EPCOT, while also increasing his involvement in the studio's latest films, the animated adventure tale "The Jungle Book" (1967), the live-action comedic musical "The Happiest Millionaire" (1967), and the animated short "Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day" (1968), which would earn Disney his final Oscar, albeit posthumously. In November of 1966, Disney was diagnosed with lung cancer, the byproduct of a life spent chain smoking cigarettes. On November 30th, Disney was taken to St. Joseph's Hospital. He would never leave. Walt Disney died on December 15, 1966, of circulatory collapse caused by lung cancer. It was ten days after his 65th birthday.

Photos

Filmography

Movies

Credit
No Score Yet 83% Get a Horse! Mickey Mouse (Voice) - 2013
No Score Yet 87% Vintage Mickey Director - 2005
81% 75% Fantasia 2000 Mickey Mouse (segment "The Sorcerer's Apprentice") (Voice) $60.5M 1999
No Score Yet No Score Yet Disney's Rootin' Tootin' Roundup Mickey Mouse (Voice) - 1990
88% 82% The Jungle Book Producer - 1967
No Score Yet 58% The Gnome-Mobile Producer - 1967
No Score Yet 17% The Fighting Prince of Donegal Producer - 1966
No Score Yet 73% The Ugly Dachshund Producer - 1966
No Score Yet 44% The Monkey's Uncle Producer - 1965
No Score Yet 54% A Tiger Walks Producer - 1964
No Score Yet 63% The Misadventures of Merlin Jones Producer - 1964
100% 53% Emil and the Detectives Producer - 1964
96% 86% Mary Poppins Producer - 1964
No Score Yet 56% Those Calloways Producer - 1964
89% 77% The Incredible Journey Producer - 1963
66% 73% The Sword in the Stone Producer - 1963
No Score Yet 76% Summer Magic Producer - 1963
88% 47% Son of Flubber Producer - 1963
No Score Yet 62% The Prince and the Pauper Producer - 1962
No Score Yet 63% In Search of the Castaways Producer - 1962
No Score Yet 46% Big Red Producer - 1962
98% 76% One Hundred and One Dalmatians Producer $91.3M 1961
100% 79% Greyfriars Bobby Producer - 1961
No Score Yet No Score Yet One Hundred and One Dalmatians Producer - 1961
83% 62% The Absent Minded Professor Producer - 1961
36% 60% Babes in Toyland Producer - 1961
No Score Yet 25% Ten Who Dared Producer - 1960
No Score Yet No Score Yet The Horse With the Flying Tail Executive Producer - 1960
No Score Yet 50% The Sign of Zorro Producer - 1960
86% 80% Pollyanna Producer - 1960
82% 78% Swiss Family Robinson Producer - 1960
No Score Yet 52% Kidnapped Producer - 1960
89% 80% Sleeping Beauty Producer $11.6M 1959
68% 48% The Shaggy Dog Producer - 1959
100% 77% Darby O'Gill and the Little People Producer - 1959
No Score Yet 85% Donald in Mathmagic Land Producer - 1959
No Score Yet No Score Yet 4 Artists Paint 1 Tree: A Walt Disney "Adventure in Art" Unknown (Character) - 1958
100% 79% Old Yeller Producer - 1957
No Score Yet 50% Johnny Tremain Producer - 1957
No Score Yet No Score Yet The Wetback Hound Executive Producer - 1957
No Score Yet No Score Yet Chips Ahoy Producer - 1956
No Score Yet No Score Yet Hooked Bear Producer - 1956
No Score Yet 57% The Secrets of Life Producer - 1956
93% 80% Lady and the Tramp Producer - 1955
No Score Yet No Score Yet Men Against the Arctic Producer - 1955
89% 74% 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Producer - 1954
No Score Yet No Score Yet Peter Pan Producer - 1953
No Score Yet No Score Yet Bear Country Producer - 1953
78% 80% Peter Pan Producer $29.3M 1953
No Score Yet 36% Rob Roy, the Highland Rogue Executive Producer - 1953
No Score Yet No Score Yet Pluto's Christmas Tree Producer - 1952
No Score Yet No Score Yet Corn Chips Producer - 1951
No Score Yet No Score Yet Bee on Guard Producer - 1951
No Score Yet No Score Yet Out of Scale Producer - 1951
81% 78% Alice in Wonderland Producer - 1951
No Score Yet 71% Morris the Midget Moose Producer - 1950
97% 80% Cinderella Producer $33.5M 1950
No Score Yet No Score Yet Pests of the West Producer - 1950
94% 71% The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad Producer - 1949
No Score Yet No Score Yet Tea for Two Hundred Producer - 1948
No Score Yet No Score Yet Mickey and the Seal Producer - 1948
No Score Yet No Score Yet Seal Island Producer - 1948
No Score Yet No Score Yet Mickey Down Under Producer - 1948
No Score Yet No Score Yet Mickey's Delayed Date Mickey Mouse (Voice),
Producer
- 1947
No Score Yet No Score Yet Chip 'n' Dale Producer - 1947
No Score Yet No Score Yet Rescue Dog Producer - 1947
No Score Yet No Score Yet Squatter's Rights Mickey Mouse (Voice),
Producer
- 1946
No Score Yet No Score Yet Donald's Crime Producer - 1945
No Score Yet No Score Yet Reason and Emotion Producer - 1943
No Score Yet No Score Yet Chicken Little Producer - 1943
No Score Yet 54% Victory Through Air Power Producer - 1943
No Score Yet No Score Yet All Together Mickey Mouse (Voice),
Producer
- 1942
No Score Yet No Score Yet Der Fuehrer's Face Producer - 1942
No Score Yet No Score Yet Donald's Garden Producer - 1942
90% 73% Bambi Producer $38.1M 1942
79% 41% Saludos Amigos Self - 1942
No Score Yet No Score Yet Early to Bed Producer - 1941
98% 70% Dumbo Producer - 1941
No Score Yet No Score Yet Baggage Buster Producer - 1941
100% 73% Pinocchio Producer $18.7M 1940
No Score Yet No Score Yet Fire Chief Producer - 1940
No Score Yet No Score Yet Donald's Dog Laundry Producer - 1940
No Score Yet No Score Yet Goofy's Glider Producer - 1940
No Score Yet No Score Yet Pinocchio Producer - 1940
95% 83% Fantasia Mickey Mouse (Voice),
Producer
$24.8M 1940
No Score Yet No Score Yet Mr. Mouse Takes a Trip Mickey Mouse (Voice) - 1940
No Score Yet No Score Yet Mr. Duck Steps Out Producer - 1940
No Score Yet 85% Ugly Duckling Producer - 1939
No Score Yet No Score Yet The Hockey Champ Producer - 1939
No Score Yet No Score Yet Society Dog Show Mickey Mouse (Voice),
Producer
- 1939
No Score Yet No Score Yet The Pointer Mickey Mouse (Character),
Producer
- 1939
No Score Yet No Score Yet Sea Scouts Producer - 1939
No Score Yet No Score Yet The Whalers Mickey Mouse (Voice) - 1938
No Score Yet No Score Yet Boat Builders Mickey Mouse (Voice),
Producer
- 1938
No Score Yet No Score Yet Moth and the Flame Producer - 1938
No Score Yet No Score Yet Brave Little Tailor Mickey Mouse (Voice),
Producer
- 1938
No Score Yet No Score Yet Ferdinand the Bull Producer - 1938
No Score Yet No Score Yet Mickey's Parrot Mickey Mouse; The Parrot (Character),
Producer
- 1938
No Score Yet No Score Yet Mother Goose Goes Hollywood Producer - 1938
No Score Yet No Score Yet Donald's Golf Game Producer - 1938
No Score Yet No Score Yet The Fox Hunt Mickey Mouse (Voice) - 1938
No Score Yet No Score Yet Magician Mickey Mickey Mouse (Voice) - 1937
No Score Yet No Score Yet Clock Cleaners Mickey Mouse (Voice),
Producer
- 1937
No Score Yet 65% Lonesome Ghosts Mickey Mouse (Voice),
Producer
- 1937
No Score Yet No Score Yet Little Hiawatha Producer - 1937
98% 78% Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Producer - 1937
No Score Yet No Score Yet Moose Hunters Mickey Mouse (Voice) - 1937
No Score Yet No Score Yet More Kittens Producer - 1936
No Score Yet No Score Yet Three Little Wolves Producer - 1936
No Score Yet 83% Who Killed Cock Robin? Producer - 1935
No Score Yet No Score Yet The Band Concert Mickey Mouse (Voice) - 1935
No Score Yet No Score Yet Three Orphan Kittens Producer - 1935
No Score Yet No Score Yet On Ice Mickey Mouse (Voice),
Producer
- 1935
No Score Yet No Score Yet The Cookie Carnival Producer - 1935
No Score Yet No Score Yet Music Land Producer - 1935
No Score Yet No Score Yet Funny Little Bunnies Producer - 1934
No Score Yet 83% The China Shop Producer - 1934
No Score Yet No Score Yet Peculiar Penguins Producer - 1934
No Score Yet No Score Yet The Grasshopper and the Ants Producer - 1934
No Score Yet No Score Yet Mickey's Gala Premier Mickey Mouse (Voice) - 1933
No Score Yet No Score Yet The Steeplechase Mickey Mouse (Voice) - 1933
No Score Yet 74% Three Little Pigs Producer - 1933
No Score Yet No Score Yet Santa's Workshop Producer - 1932
No Score Yet No Score Yet The Bears and Bees Producer - 1932
No Score Yet No Score Yet Flowers and Trees Producer - 1932
No Score Yet No Score Yet Touchdown Mickey Mickey Mouse (Voice) - 1932
No Score Yet No Score Yet Babes in the Woods Producer - 1932
No Score Yet No Score Yet King Neptune Producer - 1932
No Score Yet No Score Yet Mickey's Orphans Producer - 1931
No Score Yet No Score Yet The Castaway Mickey Mouse (Voice) - 1931
No Score Yet No Score Yet Birds of a Feather Producer - 1931
No Score Yet No Score Yet Night Director - 1930
No Score Yet No Score Yet Monkey Melodies Producer - 1930
No Score Yet No Score Yet The Barnyard Concert Mickey Mouse (Voice),
Director
- 1930
No Score Yet No Score Yet Arctic Antics Producer - 1930
No Score Yet No Score Yet Pioneer Days Mickey Mouse (Voice),
Producer
- 1930
No Score Yet No Score Yet Wild Waves Producer - 1929
No Score Yet 82% The Skeleton Dance Director,
Producer
- 1929
No Score Yet 83% Steamboat Willie Unknown (Voice),
Director,
Writer
- 1928
No Score Yet 100% Alice in Cartoonland Producer - 1925
No Score Yet 33% Four Musicians of Bremen Director - 1922

TV

Credit
No Score Yet No Score Yet Alice in Cartoonland Creator 2007
No Score Yet No Score Yet Walt Disney's Disneyland Host 1954-1961 1969-1978 1981-1983 1988
No Score Yet No Score Yet Disney's Wonderful World Host 1961-1969 1979-1981
No Score Yet No Score Yet Celebrating Mickey Unknown (Character)
No Score Yet No Score Yet What's My Line? Guest 1956
No Score Yet No Score Yet Mickey Mouse Club Creator 1955
No Score Yet No Score Yet Classic Cartoons Producer 1942