The Life Of Walt Disney

Early on Walt showed an interest in drawing and he sold his first drawing when he was seven. His creative energy developed from there, learn what his next accomplishments were.

Walt Elias Disney was born in Chicago, Illinois, on December 5, 1901, one of 5 children. Early on Walt showed an interest in drawing. He sold some of his first drawing in his neighborhood when he was seven. During high school he studied drawing, photography, and was a contributing student editor to the school paper. He attended night school at the Academy of Fine Arts.

Walt Disney's father was Elias Disney, his mother, Flora Call Disney. Walt was one of five children, four boys and a girl. They were raised on a farm in Missouri where hard work was a necessity. Knowing how to work hard paid off for him in his future.

After Walt Disney graduated from high school at age sixteen he wanted to join the army. He was rejected because he was too young. He promptly joined the Red Cross and served his tour of duty overseas driving Red Cross officials in the ambulances he was in charge of. It has been said that he illustrated the outside of his ambulance with colorful cartoons.

When Walt returned to Kansas City, he began his career as an advertising cartoonist. His first real job as a cartoon animator was in 1920, when he created and marketed his first original animated cartoons. He worked hard and invented a procedure that combined live-action and animation which really didn't catch on right away.

A few year later Walt Disney decided he had better leave Kansas if he wanted to get anywhere in show biz. He headed for Hollywood with only his drawing materials, a completed animated film, and $40 dollars. Roy 0. Disney, Walt's brother, was already living California. He was excited about Walt's talents and the two of them borrowed some money and bought a camera and set up a studio in their garage. They began making films using Walt's filming invention of combining live action and animation. They got their first order from a New York company. Eventually they began receiving more orders for their films and the business began expanding. They moved into a bigger studio and highered employees.

Walt had an employee named Lillian Bounds who he married on July 13, 1925. They had two daughters together. The older daughter they named Diane and when she was older she married a Disney employee Ron Miller, former president and chief executive officer of Walt Disney Productions, they had 7 children together. The younger daughter Sharon Disney Lund, became a Disney employee herself, serving on the Board of Directors. Sharon had three children and passed away in 1993.



Walt came up with his Mickey Mouse cartoon character in 1928. He made his first silent cartoon called "Plane Crazy" but it was never released because sound was invented and added to cartoons and films before he could release it. Instead, Walt made Mickey Mouse a star in his first cartoon "Steamboat Willie,". It was the world's first fully-synchronized sound cartoon, which showed at the Colony Theater in New York on November 18, 1928.

Walt was a dreamer and an innovator. He continued perfecting and striving for perfect animation films. Technicolor animation was came into be during the production of his "Silly Symphonies." In 1932, the film entitled "Flowers and Trees" won Walt the first of his 32 personal Academy Awards. "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," the very first full length animated musical that Walt wrote, cartooned and filmed with the help of his colleagues premiered on December 21, 1933, at the Carthay Circle Theater in Los Angeles. The cost of the film was $1,499,000 which was an astronomical cost during the Depression. Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs is still a very popular film which has made many times back the original investment. The film is still thought of as one of the greatest acheivments of the motion picture industry. During the next five years, Walt completed several other full-length animated classics as "Pinocchio," "Fantasia," "Dumbo," and "Bambi." All of these, still very popular films bringing in millions of dollars each year.

Walt Disney began producing movies and cartoons made for television in 1954. He was a pioneer in programming family shows and was one of the first to produce a full-color line up in the very popular series, "The Wonderful World of Color." He also produced, "The Mickey Mouse Club" and "Zorro" which were very popular in the 1950's.

Walt Disney was not only interested in animation, but in education through the film media. He filmed hundreds of award- winning educational documentaries about nature.

Walt Disney had one of the most creative imaginations the world has ever known. Walt, along with members of his staff, received more than 950 honors and awards from all over the world. A total of 48 Academy Awards and seven Emmys have been won to date. Walt personally earned honorary degrees from Harvard, Yale, USC, and UCLA to name only a few.

In 1955, Walt, invested $ 17 million into his Magic Kingdom; Disneyland. By 1980, more than 250 million people had been to Disneyland. All were entertained and came from all over the world to this popular southern California themepark attraction in Anaheim. Presidents, kings and queens, and royalty from all over the globe have been special guests at the hotel and park.

In 1965, Walt Disney felt he could really help improve the quality of life in America. He wanted to see if he could spur on innovation to help better the lives of people in modern cities. He directed the design on an Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, or EPCOT, which could showcase an innovative living community, which is in Walt Disney World Florida.

While Walt Disney's dreams and community spirit live on today. He died on December 15, 1966 of complications of a lung tumor. He was cremated and buried at Forest Lawn Cemetery in southern California.

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