Walt Disney was an American animator, film producer, famous entrepreneur, and showman. He was also known to his family as a loving husband, dedicated son, and devoted father and grandfather.
He was a pioneer of the American animation industry and a major contributor to the development of the motion picture industry.
Disney is best known for his animated films, which include Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), Pinocchio (1940), Fantasia (1940), and Bambi (1942).
He also produced live-action films, television programs, and theme parks. Walt Disney was a perfectionist and a visionary, and he helped to create a new form of entertainment that has been enjoyed by people of all ages for generations.
Disney was born in Chicago, Illinois, on December 5, 1901. He grew up in Marceline, Missouri, and Kansas City, Missouri. He showed an early interest in drawing and animation, and he began his career as an animator in Kansas City.
In 1923, he moved to Hollywood, California, and founded the Walt Disney Studios. The studio produced a series of short animated films, including Oswald the Lucky Rabbit and Mickey Mouse.
In 1937, the studio released Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the first full-length animated feature film. The film was a huge success, and it helped to establish Disney as a major force in the entertainment industry.
Disney continued to produce animated films throughout his career, and he also produced live-action films, television programs, and theme parks.
In 1955, he opened Disneyland, the first theme park based on his characters and stories. Disneyland was a huge success, and it helped to popularize the theme park concept.
Disney died in Los Angeles on December 15, 1966. He was 65 years old.
After his death, Disneyworld in Orlando, Florida, was completed by his brother Roy Disney.
Walt Disney was a student of history, and that can be seen in his theme parks and entertainment. He loved his country, as did his brothers who fought for it.
He admired Abraham Lincoln and created an exhibit dedicated to him shortly before his death. He also produced the mini-series known as Swamp Fox, which detailed the actions of Francis Marion during the Revolutionary War.
Walt Disney was born in Chicago to his hard-working father, Elias. Elias was known to be a strict father and expected his children to work hard. They moved from Chicago to Missouri, where they lived on a farm.
Walt's siblings would go their separate ways, and most would eventually reconnect during their lives. He had two brothers who served in the military and another brother who moved to California and became successful before Walt Disney moved in that direction.
He married the love of his life and remained married to Lillian until his death in 1966. The two had two children. One of those children was biological, and the other was adopted.
His two daughters would marry and give him grandchildren prior to his death.
Family Tree Chart
Elias Charles Disney (1859 - 1941) - He was born in Canada and moved to Kansas in the late 1870s. He moved around throughout his life. He helped build the World Fair in Chicago and would die in Los Angeles, California.
Flora Call (1868 - 1938) - Born in Ohio, married in Florida, lived in Chicago and died in Los Angeles, California. She lived a busy life and raised 5 children. Walter would build an empire, and his brothers would help run it.
Lillian Marie Bounds (1899 - 1997) - She and Walt had a wonderful marriage. They met when she was making $15 dollars a week. As Walt's business grew, she would be his sounding board for all his ideas, but she preferred the background. After his death, she would remarry and outlive that husband as well. In her final years, there were stories that emerged that cast Walt as a racist. She spoke out in a rare interview and said: "We shared a wonderful, exciting life, and we loved every minute of it. He was a wonderful husband to me and a wonderful and joyful father and grandfather. I am distressed to learn of a new book about Walt that actually invents incidents that never happened"
Diane Marie Disney (1933 - 2013) - The oldest daughter of Walt and Lillian. Diane co-founded the Walt Disney Family Museum alongside her family. She was president of the Board of Directors of the Walt Disney Family Foundation. The museum, which opened in 2009, was established to promote and inspire creativity and innovation and celebrate and study the life of Walt Disney. She married and had many children.
Sharon Mae Disney (1936 - 1993) - She was the adopted daughter of Walt and Lillian, who also became an actress. She married in 1959, but her husband died suddenly after the birth of their child. She remarried and had a set of twins, but they divorced shortly after. She died in 1993 from breast cancer.
Herbert Arthur Disney (1888 - 1961) - He was the older brother to Walt Disney. He served in World War 1 and would return to the United States, where would marry and have a child. He and his wife first moved to Oregon, but over time, he moved to Los Angeles to be with his family. He worked in the United States Post Office in Los Angeles for many years. He died 5 years before Walt and 10 years before Roy.
Raymond Arnold Disney (1890 - 1989) - He was a World War 1 veteran and the oldest sibling to survive. He ran a successful insurance company in Los Angeles for many years and often advised Walt and Roy on these matters. He was an admirer of Abraham Lincoln and helped Walt with an exhibit that has been expanded but still exists in Anaheim today. He outlived all of his immediate family and died at the age of 99.
Roy Oliver Disney (1893 - 1971) - Walt moved to Los Angeles to live with his successful brother Roy. When Walt found success, Roy became a partner and co-founder of Walt Disney Productions, now known as The Walt Disney Company. Roy was married to Edna Francis from April 1925 until his death. Their son, Roy Edward Disney, was born on January 10, 1930. Roy Disney finally retired in early December 1971 and died from a seizure on December 20.
Ruth Flora Disney (1903 - 1995) - She worked as a stenographer and married. She and her husband had one son. She is the least known Disney but was the last of the siblings to pass away. She died in Oregon at an elderly age.