Walter Disney would have been 117 years old today and we wanted to celebrate the life and work of the American Businessman, animator, voice actor and producer who was a pioneer of the American Animation Industry. He is Best-known as the creator of the beloved animated character Mickey Mouse and the founder of the Walt Disney World theme parks.
Walt Disney began developing his skills as a cartoonist as a young kid. Stuck on a farm in Missouri, he didn’t have many subjects but delighted in drawing cartoon pictures of his neighbour’s horses.
Walt Disney dropped out of school when he was only 16 years old and hoped to join the army. Though he was rejected for being too young, he later found work as an ambulance driver with the French Red Cross
Though Mickey Mouse is synonymous with Disney, it wasn’t his first animated character. While under contract to Universal Studios, Disney created “Oswald the Lucky Rabbit.” When Disney left Universal, he was barred from taking the rabbit with him, and hence he conceived the iconic mouse while on the train back to California. He also stated that that’s when he learnt the importance of copywriting and as soon as he developed Mickey he got it copyrighted.
Disney’s first animated feature film was the most successful film of 1939, earning more than $8 million (That’s about the same as $134 million today.)
Since Mickey’s inception until 1947, Walt Disney voiced the iconic mouse. Eventually, running the studio made him too busy to keep doing the voice, and he handed over the reins to veteran Disney actor Jimmy MacDonald
During World War II, Walter Disney produced a series of animated pro-American war propaganda videos for all of the branches of the United States Military and government. Throughout the duration of WWII, he produced the equivalent of 68 hours of continuous film for entertaining the soldiers and to boost their morale. Disney also had his artists draw around 1200 insignias for the military, many of which were for naval units. The most requested and used Disney character was Donald Duck, who was featured in roughly 146 designs.
Between 1932 and 1969, Walt Disney won 22 Academy Awards and was nominated 59 times. This is more than any other person has ever received in the history of the awards.