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Walter Disney

Entertainment Magnate, Motion Pictures Pioneer. Most remembered for creating ‘Mickey Mouse’, ‘Donald Duck’, and a host of other cartoon characters, he was awarded a total of 32 Oscars, more than any other person, for his achievements in films. Born Walter Elias Disney in Chicago, Illinois, his father’s ancestors had come to America from Kilkenny, Ireland, seeking to escape from religious persecution. His father was always seeking success in many occupations but always finding failure, and the Disney family was always poor. Walt Disney found that he could escape his father’s harsh discipline by drawing, and in 1917, when he was 16 years old, he lied about his age to join the American Red Cross Ambulance Corps. When he was mustered out at the end of World War I, he set up shop as a commercial artist in Kansas City, Missouri. There he was introduced to the profession of animation, which he found he excelled at. Moving to Los Angeles, California in 1923 to be with his more successful brother, Roy, Walt Disney began drawing commercially, making a modest living by drawing for the “Alice” series of cartoons, about a live action girl who travels to the world of animated cartoon animals. In 1927, his first really successful commercial cartoon, featuring ‘Oswald the Rabbit’, became a success, but he lost the rights to the character when sued by his distributor. From then on, he insisted on owning the distribution rights to his creations. In 1928, Walt Disney created ‘Mickey Mouse’. His third ‘Mickey Mouse’ film, “Steamboat Willie,” was the first animated cartoon motion picture to use synchronized sound and became an overnight success. He was the voice of the character for the first ten years of the cartoon. In 1934, Disney pioneered the first full length cartoon movie, “Snow White”, and again, critics were overcome by the sheer popular response of the public to the movie. In 1950, he produced his first live-action film, “Treasure Island,” and in 1955, he opened his first theme park, “Disneyland”. Prior to his death in 1966 in Los Angeles, California, of lung cancer, he began work on his latest theme park in Orlando, Florida: “Walt Disney’s World”. His brother, Roy, the business genius behind the scenes, continued to run the company, and decades after Walt Disney’s death. Shortly after his death, the Disney Company executive board was shown a short film that Disney made just before his death, where he addressed each board member by name, telling him what he expected of him, and ending the film by saying “I’ll be seeing you.” Walt Disney was one of the few Americans to be honored with a United States postage stamp issued less than two years after his death (the United States Postal Service prefers to issue stamps at least ten years after a person has died; an exception is made for United States presidents), when a 6 cent stamp was issued in September 1968 in his honor.

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  • December, 05, 1901
  • USA


  • December, 15, 1966
  • USA

Cause of Death

  • Lung Cancer


  • Forest Lawn Memorial Park
  • California
  • USA

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