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Walt Disney: A Short Bio

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Born on December 5, 1901 in Chicago, Illinois to parents Elias Disney and mother Flora Call Disney Walter E. Disney was the best thing that happened to show business in the last century. Walt’s family moved to Marceline, Missouri after his birth where he was brought up in a farm. Drawing caught his imagination ever since he was seven years old and he sold his sketches to his neighbors. Family moved to Chicago again where Disney concentrated both on Drawing and Photography in his high school. He also attended the Academy of Fine Arts at night.

Walt was also attracted to the beauty of nature as he grew up and he began to love and appreciate it. Though his father was particularly opposed to his plans her mother and elder brother Roy encouraged him to pursue his dreams. Disney even tried to get into military service but was rejected because he was only 16 years of age and thus was underage to join military. But he joined Red Cross where he was sent to France and he spent a year there driving ambulance.

After returning from France he pursued a career in commercial art and even started a small company called Laugh-O-Grams which went bankrupt soon. This prompted him to go to Hollywood. It is said he had only one suitcase and $20 with him when he went to Hollywood. His elder brother Roy was living in California, he pooled in $250 and they borrowed another $500 and constructed a camera stand. It didn’t take a long wait before they received an order from New York to make the first Alice Comedy and they started producing cartoons in the rear of a real estate office in Hollywood.  After successfully making Alice Comedies Walt became a famous figure in Hollywood.

Walt married one of his employees Lillian Bounds and they had two daughters. The cartoon film Mickey Mouse was created in 1928 and his talents were exposed to the world in a silent cartoon called Plane Crazy. The year coincided with the introduction of sound in movies just before the release of the cartoon. The cartoon character Mickey made its screen debut in Steamboat Willie which was the world’s first fully synchronized sound cartoon. The cartoon premiered at the Colony Theater in New York on Nov. 18, 1928.

Walt was never content with his work and his quest for excellence made him introduce Technicolor in cartoons in 1932. He used multiplane camera technique in 1937. On December 21, 1937 Walt released the first full length animated musical film called “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” made at a whopping cost of $1.5 million. The animated film is still regarded as one of the rare feats of the motion picture industry.

Walt had a studio in Burbank constructed which was ready in 1940 and the employee count went up to 1,000 which comprised of artists, animators, story men and technicians. Disney used combine live action with the cartoon medium in 1945 in the musical “The Three Caballeros”. Walt went to make many award winning cartoon films such as “True Life Adventure” series, “The Living Desert” and many more. Disneyland was launched in 1955 with a capital of $17 million and the investment increased by 10 fold within a few years. Walt turned to social causes in 1965 and directed a film on Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow to improve the quality of urban life in America. But Walt Disney died on December 15, 1966 leaving many achievements and unfulfilled dreams behind him.

Walt Disney envisioned and had directed to purchase about forty three square miles of land, double the size of Manhattan Island in central Florida. It took about fifty months to complete the planning and construction of the Walt Disney World which was eventually opened to public on October 1, 1971. Walk Disney was truly a pioneer and visionary of many modern days’ technologies. No wonder why he has received more than 950 honors and 48 Oscar awards and 7 Emmy awards. Truly this man stands out for his outstanding contribution to the improvement of art of cartoon making.

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