Mickey Mouse, Cinderella, Pinocchio, these are just some of the most famous Disney characters that most people have heard of but one name that some may not have heard is the name of the creator of these characters, Walt Disney. Disney was an innovative animator and created many characters along with the ones previously listed. He won twenty-two Academy Awards during his lifetime, and was founder of theme parks, Disneyland and Disney World (Biography). These are the things that many people remember him for today, but how did one man have so much impact on the childhood and lives of people all over the world?
To find the answer to this question we have to go all the way back to December 5, 1901, the day Walt Disney was born (Biography). Although Disney was born in Hermosa, Illinois, he spent most of his childhood in Marceline, Missouri. This is where he began drawing, painting and selling pictures to neighbors, family, and friends after he was hired to draw the horse of a retired neighborhood doctor (Wikipedia). In 1911, the Disney’s moved to Kansas City, Missouri. There, Disney attended Benton Grammar School, where he met Walter Pfeiffer, who came from a family of theatre fans. As their friendship grew Pfeiffer introduced Disney to vaudeville and motion pictures, before long Disney was spending more time at his friends house than at his own. Disney’s interest in the industry only grew stronger when in 1917, he enrolled at McKinley High School and became the cartoonist of the school newspaper, drawing patriotic pictures about World War I (Wikipedia). In October 1919, Disney worked as an apprentice artist at the Pesmen- Rubin Commercial Art Studio drawing commercial illustrations for advertising, theater programs, and catalogs. This is also the place where he befriended fellow artist Ub Iwerks. (Wikipedia) In January 1920, as Pesmen-Rubin revenue declined, Disney and Iwerks were laid off. They started their own business that did not last very long, Iwerks-Disney Commercial Artists. This is when they both decided they would have to find work elsewhere at the Kansas City Film Ad Company. The company produced commercials using the cutout animation technique; although Disney prefered drawing characters he became interested in animation. (Wikipedia) Disney began practicing at home finding new and more efficient techniques to use, this then led him to create a twelve-and-a-half minute film, Alice and Wonderland. Although a long journey, Disney practiced and pushed through to start to become who he is known as today but here is where the ball really started rolling to the name we all know today.
In July of 1923, Disney moved to Hollywood. At the time New York was the center for the cartoon industry but Disney’s brother Roy was convalescing from tuberculosis in Los Angeles (Wikipedia). As Disney was just starting to lose hope of selling Alice and Wonderland New York film distributor, Margaret J. Winkler contacted him, She was losing the rights to two of her major cartoons and needed a new series. In October, they signed a contract and created a six episode comedy series called Alice comedies. After their first break Disney and his brother Roy formed the Disney Brothers Studio- which later became the Walt Disney Company- to make and sell their own films (Wikipedia). As Disney started hiring, he called upon old time friend Ub Iwerks and an ink artists, Lillian Bounds who he married in July of that year. Lillian who had little interest in the film industry said that their marriage was generally happy. Their marriage produced two daughters, Diane, and Sharon (who they adopted). The daughters were kept out of the public eye as much as possible for their protection with recent kidnappings. (Wikipedia)
While struggling to keep his family out of the public eye and safe, conflicts with his previous series Alice and Oswald the Lucky Rabbit arouse. Margaret Winkler handed his series over to her husband, Charles Mintz, who convinced Disney’s workers to work for him and left Disney lost. To replace these lost shows, Disney and Iwerks developed Mickey Mouse.”Disney Studios” In the words of one of Disney’s employees, “Ub gave designed Mickey’s psychical appearance, but Walt gave him his soul”, as Disney voiced him until 1947.
Disney launched into the production of live-action features and television programs. The Studio lot was subsequently expanded during the 1950s, to include sound stages and production craft facilities. (Brown, Lisa) Within a few years of the opening, Disney began plans for a new theme park and to develop Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow in Florida. It was still under construction when, in 1966, Disney was diagnosed with lung cancer. From this point Disney created a lot of new characters and brought life to them, as he did Mickey Mouse. The were heard around the world and became very popular. On December 15, 1966, at the age of 65 Walt Disney passed away. Disney was cremated, and his ashes interred at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Los Angeles, California. After his death, Roy, Walt Disney’s brother, carried on the plans to finish the Florida theme park, which opened in 1971 under the name Walt Disney World. (Wikipedia) As from today the park is still open and Disney is still alive. Today, Disney brings laughter and joy to kids and families, wither it’s on television, from the park, or even on the radio. Mikey and all the other characters he created are still here today and many of them are known. Walt Disney was a very courageous person, he was very had working, and had a lot of self confidence which helped him make great success, Walt Disney will never be forgotten by people around the world.