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June 15

June 15, 1917 – Imagineer and Disney Legend Bill Martin is Born

Walt and Bill Martin

On June 15, 1917, Bill Martin was born in Marshalltown, Iowa. He and his family would move to Los Angeles, and in 1937, he graduated from Los Angeles Junior College after studying architecture. He continued his studies at the Chouinard Art Institute and the Art Center School of Design before landing a job at 20th Century Fox as a set designer. Like many men of the time, Martin left Hollywood to serve during World War II, servicing as a captain in the Air Force. He returned after the war to work at Panoramic Productions before rejoining Fox as an assistant art director. In 1953, Martin received a phone call from the Disney Studios, as Walt was looking for the best to help him create what would become Disneyland. He eagerly joined WED Enterprises, and would go on to develop the designs for some of the most beloved attractions, including Peter Pan’s Flight and Sleeping Beauty Castle. Eventually, Martin would be named the art director of Fantasyland, and not only developed many of the layouts of each Fantasyland attraction, but added design elements to other attractions across the park. In 1971, he was named the vice president of design at WED, and contributed his design expertise to the layout of the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World. He retired in 1977, after 24 years with the company; like many others, however, Martin continued to consult on many projects for various parks. He was inducted as a Disney Legend in 1994. In 2010, Martin passed away.

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