One of the most well-known film makers of all time is Walt Disney. Known for his work as a voice actor, animator, film maker, screenwriter, philanthropist, entrepreneur and more, Disney is one of the most recognizable names of the twentieth century. The influence of the Walt Disney Company (formerly known as Walt Disney Productions), a corporation founded by Walt and his brother Roy in the world of entertainment is significant. The company makes around $36 billion a year.
Some of the most recognizable characters in the world are the creations of Walter Elias Disney. Mickey Mouse is the most well-known of his characters and the symbol of his company. During his lifetime Walt Disney was nominated for 59 Academy Awards, with 22 wins, and 4 honorary Academy Awards. Along with his record achievements at the Academy Awards (Disney has more nominations and awards than any other individual person in the history of the Oscars) Disney also won 7 Emmy Awards during his lifetime.
The Early Years
In 1923 Walt and Roy Disney founded the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio. In 1925, Disney hired an artist named Lillian Bounds to ink and paint. Bounds and Disney married before the end of 1925. One of the first successful characters created by Disney was Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. The cartoons were released by Universal Pictures from the 1920s through the 1930s. In 1928, “Steamboat Willie” was released. This animated cartoon is worth noting because it was the first cartoon featuring Mickey and Minnie mouse to be distributed, though not the first to be produced. “Steamboat Willie” is also known as one of the first animated features with synchronized sound. The famous pals of Mickey Mouse, with the exception of his girlfriend Minnie wouldn’t appear until the 1930’s when Donald Duck, Pluto, and Goofy made their debut appearances.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
In 1937 Disney made history with the release of the Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs the first feature-length cell animated motion picture ever released. Getting the film made was an achievement for Disney because of the resistance of Disney’s family and the film industry. The project was called “Disney’s Folly” while in production because of the belief that people would not want to watch a full length animated film. Disney was so dedicated to the project however, that he was willing to risk failure to achieve his dream of an entirely animated movie. The film cost so much to make that Disney even had to mortgage his home in order to finish making the movie. The total cost to make the movie was close to $1,500,000. The initial release of the movie brought in over $8 million. In 2008 the American Film Institute named Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs the greatest American animated film ever made.
The Golden Age of Animation
After the successful release of Snow White Disney went on to produce some of the most well-known animated films in history. Among them are Pinocchio (1940), Bambi (1942), Cinderella (1950), Alice in Wonderland (1951), Mary Poppins (1964), and The Jungle Book (1967).
Walt Disney died in 1966 from lung cancer. The final Disney released animated film that Disney personally worked on was the Jungle Book. Along with his achievements in the field of animation Disney also opened California’s Disneyland Theme Park and had begun work on the Florida based Walt Disney World resort.