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Tag Archives: Disney Legend

July 11

July 11, 2008 – Lea Salonga Performs at Disney Concert Hall

“Best known for originating the role of Kim in the musical Miss Saigon, Lea Salonga is also a bona fide ‘Disney Princess.’”

On July 11, 2008, singer, actress, and Disney Legend Lea Salonga performed a solo concert at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, California. Salonga, an acclaimed veteran of the Broadway stage, performed as a singer in Disney animated feature films Mulan and Aladdin; she performed these songs, along with a variety of songs from her Broadway performances and Tagalog favorites, during this concert. This one-night-only concert, much like her debut at Carnegie Hall, was a sold-out show.

July 7

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July 7, 1898 – Publisher and Disney Legend Paul Winkler is Born

“When it comes to comic books published in France, Paul started it all.” – Roy E. Disney

On July 7, 1898, Paul Winker was born in Budapest, Hungary. After graduating from the University of Amsterdam, he moved to Paris, France, and opened a press agency called Opera Mundi; this agency sold articles to newspapers all across Western Europe. Eager to bring the popular Mickey Mouse to French audiences, Winkler was able to sell King Features comic strips to the French press, and developed the first French Mickey Mouse comic magazine, Le Journal de Mickey, in 1934. At its prime, the magazine boasted a circulation of 400,000. In 1940, after Paris was invaded by Nazi troops, Winkler and his family emigrated to New York, where he then opened the Press Alliance, which featured articles from the top writers of the era. Winkler also became a foreign political columnist for the Washington Post, and co-wrote anti-Nazi books with his wife, including Paris Underground, which became a film in 1945. After World War II ended, Winkler returned to France and moved back into Disney publishing ventures, including the comic book Hardi, Presente Donald in 1947, and the reissue of Le Journal de Mickey in 1952, which sold over 650,000 copies a week. Winkler passed away on September 23, 1982, in Melun, France. For his efforts in bringing Mickey Mouse comics to France, he was posthumously awarded as a Disney Legend in 1997.

May 18

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May 18, 1910 – Artist, Imagineer, and Disney Legend Dorothea Redmond is Born

“A Dorothea Redmond watercolor painting is a wonder to behold.” – Stacia Martin, Disney artist and historian

On May 18, 1910, artist Dorothea Holt Redmond was born in Los Angeles, California, and would receive her degree in interior design from the USC School of Architecture. Afterwards, she attended the Art Center College and got a degree in illustration. In 1938, she was hired by Selznick International Pictures, contributing her skills to such films as The Young in Heart and Gone With the Wind, and was considered one of the most talented illustrators in the business. She left to work at an architectural firm, and in 1964, she joined WED Enterprises (now known as Walt Disney Imagineering). Her first project was to transform Disneyland’s Red Wagon Inn to the more upscale Plaza Inn, which would go on to become Walt’s favorite place to bring guests. Her other big project was to create the interior paintings for the Royal Suite, which was a hideaway for the Disney family (its location, above the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction, is now known as the Dream Suite). Redmond did a multitude of work for Walt Disney World, working prolifically on Fantasyland, Adventureland, and Main Street. Her most well-known work is for the murals covering the passage through Cinderella’s Castle, which were replicated in Tokyo Disneyland almost ten years later. After ten years at Disney, Redmond retired. She was inducted as a Disney Legend in 2008. She passed away on February 27, 2009.

April 2

April 2, 1899 – Sound and Camera Pioneer and Disney Legend Bill Garity is Born

“With his pioneering efforts in sound and camera techniques, he helped set Disney Studios apart from others, while his planning and supervisory expertise resulted in the building of a highly efficient Studio in Burbank.” – Disney Chief Archivist Emeritus, Dave Smith

On April 2, 1899, Bill Garity was born in Brooklyn, New York. After attending the Pratt Institute of Art in New York, he served with the Radio Research and Development sector of the U.S. Signal Corps during World War I. His work in radio continued to flourish when, after the war, he met and worked with Lee DeForest, a pioneer in the field of radio. The pair would work on the development of sound for the earliest films. As Garity was working on the Cinephone motion picture recording system in 1928, he met a young Walt Disney, who was hoping to elevate the animated art form. With Garity’s help, Steamboat Willie became a hit for the fledgling Disney Studios, and Disney bought the Cinephone system with an offer for Garity to come out to Hollywood to install it and train a technician to operate it. Garity officially joined the Walt Disney Studios in 1929 and stayed with the company for over 13 years, leading a department of 18 engineers. At Disney, Garity was instrumental in creating such innovations such as the multiplane camera, which earned the studio an Academy Award in the Scientific and Technical category; the team also invented Fantasound, a unique stereo system that was installed in theaters specifically for the animated feature film Fantasia. Garity left the studio in 1940 to pursue other technical ventures, and ended up serving as the vice president and production manager for the Walter Lantz Studios. He passed away on September 16, 1971, in Los Angeles California. For his groundbreaking technical expertise and ability to help Walt achieve his dream of the elevated animated film, Garity was posthumously honored as a Disney Legend in 1999.

February 9

February 9, 1996 – Thomas Murphy Joins Disney Board of Directors

On February 9, 1996, Thomas Murphy joined the Disney Board of Directors. Murphy helped to build the company Capital Cities, working his way up the ladder until he was named chair and CEO in 1966. In 1985, Capital Cities merged with one of the network leaders, ABC; at the time, this was the largest merger of media companies, which was outdone ten years later when the company then merged with the Walt Disney Company. After this merger, Murphy was not only added as a member of the Board of Directors, but would also join the Executive Committee the following year.

January 13

January 13, 1927 – President of Walt Disney Creations S.p.A and Disney Legend Antonio Bertini is Born

“There is always a market. There is never a problem when you give a good product at the right price. And Disney is a very good product.”

On January 13, 1927, Antonio Bertini was born in Milan, Italy. He attended the University of Pavia, and while there he explored market research, a concept that was unfamiliar in Italy at the time, and eventually graduated with a Ph.D. in political science in 1955. Soon after, he joined the Lever Brothers company in Milan as a planning officer, putting his skills to use as he coordinated the operating, marketing, and publicity of the company’s four Italian factories. He joined Walt Disney Productions in 1960, after answering an anonymous ad in a newspaper, as the assistance to Major John William Holmes, the Italian sales representative. Bertini had almost immediate success; he was able to negotiate several new contracts with Italian licensees to create Disney-themed projects, ranging from toys to housewares, and was subsequently promoted to sales manager a year later. At the same time, Bertini was also asked to join the Board of Directors, and after another stellar year, Roy O. Disney personally named Bertini the president of Walt Disney Creations S.p.A. Bertini continued to expand Disney influence in Italy through the 1960s and 1970s, creating educational films for the country and creating over a $1 million in revenue; this success helped lead the way for Disney’s eventual success in the home video market through the 1980s. Bertini was also instrumental in creating a booming publishing division in Italy for the Disney books, comics, and magazines, rather than licensing out the characters to other publishers. After 30 years with the company, Bertini retired from Disney in 1990; he was honored as a Disney Legend in the category of Disney Consumer Products in 1997.

October 30

October 30, 1906 – Composer and Disney Legend Paul Smith is Born

On October 30, 1906, composer Paul Smith was born in Calument, Michigan to a musical family. The family later moved to Caldwell, Idaho, where Smith’s father taught music at the College of Idaho. Smith’s musical ability emerged at an early age, and his father nurtured this by teaching his son to play a variety of instruments, including piano and violin. Smith enrolled in the Bush Conservatory of Music in Chicago in 1925; after graduation, he taught at Elmhurst College and York High School. He then moved to Los Angeles to attend UCLA and earned a degree in English. After graduating, he wound up at the Walt Disney Studios in 1934, and became a pioneer in music for motion pictures, scoring for animated features such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Cinderella, True-Life Adventure films such as The Vanishing Prairie and Perri, and live action features such as The Shaggy Dog and Pollyanna. Smith had over fifty credits to his name, and over the course of his career he scored eight Academy Award nominations, including one win for his work on the score of the film Pinocchio with Leigh Harline and Ned Washington. Smith retired in 1962 after almost thirty years with The Walt Disney Studios. On January 25, 1985, Smith passed away in Glendale, California. He was honored as a Disney Legend for his contributions to the Walt Disney Company in 1994.