July 20, 1923 – Publicist and Disney Legend Charlie Ridgway is Born
“Disneyland was one public relations job I thought I would enjoy, and I was right.”
On July 20, 1923, Charlie Ridgway was born in Chicago, Illinois. He began his career as a journalist after receiving his degree from the University of Missouri, and joined the staff of the Los Angeles Mirror-News in 1952. While there, he wrote articles about the construction of Disneyland, and covered the opening day of Disneyland on July 17, 1955. Eight years after he covered the opening, he was hired as part of the park’s publicity staff. His background as a newsman gave him the skills needed to relate to other reporters, and the knowledge to know what they would need to represent the park appropriately. Ridgway quickly moved up the ranks, and soon was asked to help the publicity department for the Florida Project, which was to become Walt Disney World. He moved to Orlando, and soon became the Walt Disney World director of press and publicity. Over his 30 year career with the company, he worked on over 150 special projects, including one for Donald Duck’s 50th birthday, and the launches of Epcot and Disneyland Paris. He retired from Disney in 1994, but would continue to consult with the company on other projects. He was named a Disney Legend in 1999, and published his memoir Spinning Disney’s World in 2007.