BURBANK, Calif, Oct. 16, 2003 – Today, The Walt Disney Company will celebrate, recognize and reward those who have contributed their creativity and imagination to the Disney heritage in the 2003 Disney Legends ceremony. The Walt Disney Company Vice Chairman Roy E. Disney will preside over the ceremony, which is a special time to honor those who have made a significant contribution to the Disney legacy. This year, Disney will recognize 11 honorees who will join 152 actors, film makers, animators, composers and other creative people previously honored since 1987 when actor Fred MacMurray received the first Disney Legend designation.
“Walt Disney’s genius is what made this company, its characters and its stories so endearing and enduring to generations of people around the world, but Walt wasn’t alone in his life’s work,” said Roy E. Disney, chairman of Walt Disney Animation and vice chairman of the board of directors of The Walt Disney Company. “He was surrounded by colleagues and loved ones whose imaginations — fueled by his enthusiasm — brought unbounded creativity to this time-honored enterprise. These people, and those who continue his legacy, are who we honor today for their tremendous contributions to the magic that is Disney.”
“To my uncle and father, this company was more than a job, it really was a dream come true. As Walt always acknowledged, ‘it requires people to make the dream a reality,’ so today we celebrate the people behind the vision. This year, I’m especially proud that my mother and my aunt Lily, two women who are truly cornerstones in the foundation of this organization, are being recognized with this prestigious award.”
The 2003 Disney Legends honorees are as follows:
- Tutti Camarata – Music — Tutti supervised recordings of more than 300 Disneyland Record albums, including those featuring Disney stars, such as Mouseketeer Annette Funicello, for whom he developed her distinctive “Annette” sound. He joined Disney in 1956 when Walt Disney decided to create an in-house label. Camarata helped co-found Disneyland Records, better known today as Walt Disney Records, and while there first began experimenting with classic Disney animated films, including Bambi, Dumbo, Cinderella, Mary Poppins and others, putting story, music and dialogue to long-playing vinyl record albums.
- Edna Disney* – Founder — Wife of Roy O. Disney, Edna Francis Disney lent her support to The Walt Disney Company even before its 1923 inception. While dating Walt’s older brother and her future husband, Company co-founder Roy O. Disney, Edna first met the “cute” ten-year-old boy, Walter Elias Disney in Kansas City, Missouri, around 1911. A spirited woman, with an understanding heart and a ready opinion to share, Edna provided enthusiastic support and sound counsel to her husband as he helped grow his brother’s creative venture from a humble storefront in Hollywood to an entertainment empire that spans the globe. When The Walt Disney Company first started, Edna frequently assisted with office work at the fledgling studio, and, along with Walt’s wife, Lillian Bounds Disney, helped ink and paint animation cels.
- Lillian Disney* – Founder — While Lillian Disney, wife of Company founder Walt Disney, worked behind the scenes to support the Company’s growth, her most celebrated contribution is the naming of a certain animated character. Mrs. Disney was responsible for the name “Mickey Mouse” and the rest, as they say, is history. Before she was married, Mrs. Disney worked at the fledgling Walt Disney Studio as a secretary and “inker” of animated cels. Lillian met the boss, who sometimes asked her not to cash her $15-a-week paycheck. Soon, the boss met her family and on July 13, 1925 they were married. Mrs. Disney served as a sounding board for Walt throughout his career, and she continued to keep Walt’s dreams alive after his death, attending the 1971 openings of WALT DISNEY WORLD® RESORT in Orlando and the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), and announcing in 1987 a gift of $50 million to build a new symphony hall designed by architect Frank Gehry in Los Angeles.
- Orlando Ferrante – Imagineering — During his 40 years at Walt Disney Imagineering (WDI), former Vice President of Engineering, Design and Production Orlando Ferrante helped create magical Disney lands around the world. From WALT DISNEY WORLD® RESORT to DISNEYLAND PARIS RESORT, Orlando’s keen administrative and planning skills, “can do” attitude, and his humble and fun-loving heart served him well when orchestrating the combined efforts of inspirational artists, engineers, production and installation teams creating Disney theme parks. Upon arriving at Disney, Orlando’s premier charge was to serve as an expeditor on the first Audio-Animatronics attraction at Disneyland, the Enchanted Tiki Room, overseeing its installation. In 1966, Orlando helped coordinate the relocation and installation of the attractions developed by Disney for the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair, including Ford’s Magic Skyway, It’s A Small World presented by Pepsi-Cola/UNICEF, General Electric’s Progressland, featuring the Carousel of Progress, and the State of Illinois’s Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, to Disneyland. That same year, he established a new department called Project Installation Coordinating Office (PICO), which coordinated the creation and installation of Disneyland attractions, including the Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean, as well as shows and attractions for WALT DISNEY WORLD® RESORT. In 1990, he moved to France where he served as vice president of show/ride engineering, production and installation at Disneyland Paris. Before retiring in 2002, Orlando moved to Venice, Italy, to help launch the second Disney Cruise Line ship, and went on to head show/ride engineering, design and production of Tokyo DisneySea, which opened in 2001.
- Richard Fleischer – Film – Mr. Fleischer served as the director of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, one of Disney’s most ambitious live-action films. And after its 1954 release, Richard went on to direct many other big movies since then, including The Vikings (1958), Fantastic Voyage (1966), Doctor Dolittle (1967), Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970) and Soylent Green (1973).
- Floyd Gottfredson* – Publishing — Floyd Gottfredson, who penciled Mickey’s daily comic strip beginning in 1930, played a major role in getting Disney’s then new character, Mickey Mouse, known throughout the world by producing the daily strip. Mr. Gottfredson was first hired by Walt Disney as an in-between artist working on the Silly Symphony animated shorts. Four months later, Walt asked Floyd to take over the new Mickey Mouse comic strip for a few weeks, but forty-five years later, Floyd was still creating the strip. Mr. Gottfredson’s first Mickey Mouse comic strip premiered May 5, 1930, only a few months after its January launch via King Features Syndicate. In doing so, Floyd achieved his life-long dream and happily continued drawing Mickey’s daily strip until he retired from the Studio in 1975.
- Buddy Hackett* – Film — Actor and comedian Buddy Hackett has been called one of America’s funniest and most inventive comics. At Disney, he left his comedic mark on such smash hit feature films as The Love Bug, in which he played the wacky, mystic sculptor Tennessee Steinmetz and The Little Mermaid, in which he provided the voice of Scuttle, the daft seagull who’s always showing off his false knowledge about humans to Ariel. Buddy first arrived at Disney to star in The Love Bug with Dean Jones and Michele Lee; the film became the highest-grossing motion picture in the U.S. in 1969. Two years later, he starred in the Disney television special The Grand Opening of Walt Disney World, and in 1992, lent his voice to the character Louie in Disney’s Dinosaurs series, which aired on ABC. Following the splashing success of The Little Mermaid in 1989, Buddy returned as the voice of Scuttle in the 2000 direct-to-video feature The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea.
- Buzz Price – Imagineering — Research economist Harrison “Buzz” Price helped Walt Disney hand-pick the optimum locations for THE DISNEYLAND® RESORT in 1953 and WALT DISNEY WORLD® RESORT in 1963, among other projects. And over time, he became one of Walt’s most trusted advisors. A month prior to his death in 1966, Walt personally appointed Buzz to care for one of his most prized projects, California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) in Valencia. CalArts was to be a unique educational concept that would “cross fertilize” disciplines in art, design, music, dance, film, video and theater. More than 30 years since its 1971 opening, Buzz remains a dedicated trustee of CalArts. In all, Buzz conducted over 150 project studies for Disney, including site selection and feasibility for Tokyo Disneyland.
- Al Taliaferro* – Publishing – Mr. Taliaferro joined Disney in 1931 as an assistant to artist Floyd Gottfredson, inking the Mickey Mouse daily and Sunday comic strips. When Donald Duck made his grand debut in the Silly Symphony Sunday comic strip series, he was drawn and inked by Al. After Donald’s introduction to the comic strip world, Al began lobbying Company co-founder Roy O. Disney for a Donald Duck daily. Initially, Al’s idea didn’t fly with Roy, but Al persisted, and on February 7, 1938, Donald Duck debuted in his very own daily comic strip, drawn and inked by Al, written by his comic colleague Bob Karp, and syndicated by King Features. True to Al’s prediction, Donald’s daily comic strip proved a “quacking” success. Following that, Al had yet another fine, feathered idea tucked up his sleeve – actually, three of them – Donald’s nephews, Huey, Dewey & Louie – and soon after the rapscallion trio debuted in the comic pages, they parlayed to the big screen appearing in their first animated short, Donald’s Nephews.
- Ilene Woods – Voice – The title voice of the animated feature Cinderella, Ilene was chosen from a field of nearly 400 hopefuls for the role. Ilene was able to harmonize with herself, creating beautiful, rich songs that sounded as if several performers worked on the pieces. After her role in Cinderella, Ilene moved into television appearing on The Steve Allen Show, The Gary Moore Show and Arthur Godfrey and His Friends. During The Gary Moore Show, Ilene met her husband-to-be, Ed Shaughnessy, Johnny Carson’s The Tonight Show drummer, and raised two sons with him. In 1985, Ilene launched a new career as a portrait artist and says she loves painting children’s portraits. On February 12, 2001, she appeared at a Cinderella Ball celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the motion picture, held at THE DISNEYLAND® RESORT.
The induction ceremony will take place at Disney Legends Plaza at The Walt Disney Company headquarters in Burbank. Honorees each receive a two-foot-tall bronze Disney Legends Award sculpture signifying the imagination, creativity and magic that they brought to the Company. The filmstrip, which forms the base, unrolls to represent the beginning of this Company, with Steamboat Willie at the helm. The spiral represents the soaring spirit of imagination. The hand represents the down-to-earth gifts of skill, discipline and craftsmanship. The wand represents the magic – the spark that is ignited whenever imagination and skill combust together to create a new dream.
(Editor’s note: a photograph of the sculpture is available at: http://psc.disney.go.com/corporate/communications/index0.html.)
Honorees also will participate in a handprint ceremony, creating imprints that will be permanently displayed in bronze at Disney Legends Plaza.
The Walt Disney Company, is a diversified, international family entertainment and media enterprise including Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, The Walt Disney Studios, ABC, Inc., ESPN, Disney Channel, Disney Consumer Products, television and radio stations and Internet Web sites.
* — These people are being honored posthumously.