Walter Elias Disney or Walt Disney in short was an American animator, film producer and voice actor, best known for his animated characters, such as Mickey and Minnie Mouse. He revolutionised the animated film industry in Hollywood.
Born in 1901 in Chicago, he developed an interest in drawing from an early age after drawing a horse for a nearby doctor. He developed his skill by copying front-page cartoons of the Appeal to Reason newspaper his father was subscribed to. He became acquainted with motion pictures in grammar school through his classmate Walter Pfeiffer, attended Saturday courses at the Kansas City Art Institute and took a correspondence course in cartooning.
He also drew pictures about World War I at his school and drew cartoons on his ambulance while he worked as an ambulance driver for the Red Cross during the same war and also had some published. Later on, he drew illustrations as an apprentice at an art studio in Kansas City where he returned in late 1919. He also took night courses at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts. After being laid off, he founded a business with his friend Iwerks which did not perform well. He joined the ranks of the Kansas City Film Ad Company where he learnt about animation.
His new ideas associate therewith were not met with approval, so he opened a new small business in which he created short animated films. Unfortunately, it also did not perform well which led to the decision to move to Hollywood in 1923. His iconic first animated character, Mickey Mouse, was developed in 1928 and is supposedly based on a pet mouse he adopted although these claims have never been sufficiently substantiated.
In 1934, Disney decided he needed to create a first feature-length animated film which experts in the industry believed would tank his company. Ultimately, Snow White became the most successful sound film made to 1938 and the most successful film at the box office in the same year. In the 1950s, Disney decided to expand into the world of his now famous theme parks, based on the Tivoli park in Copenhagen he visited with his family, opening Disneyland in 1955.
Its construction was funded by his TV programmes which have since become a staple in the entertainment industry and beyond. He continues to be regarded as a cultural icon and a visionary before his time.
- That he holds the record for most Oscars awarded to an individual (22);
- That he learnt to draw by copying front-page cartoons by Ryan Walker in the Appeal to Reason newspaper and his first commissioned drawing was of a horse of a retired local doctor;
- He went bankrupt several times before making it big in the animation industry
- He was told several times that he was never going to make it as an artist and that his drawings would never amount to anything
- The Disney brand has expanded into a multi-billion dollar business that no longer includes just cartoons but also several theme parks, TV channels and even the Star Wars franchise?
Most Inspiring Walt Disney Quotes
All our dreams can come true,
if we have the courage to pursue them.
That’s the real trouble with the world.
Too many people grow up.
When you’re curious, you find lots of interesting things to do.
The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.
A man should never neglect his family for business.
Why worry? If you’ve done the very best you can,
then worrying won’t make it any better.
Our greatest natural resource
is the minds of our children.
If you can dream, you can do it.
Always remember that this whole
thing was started by a mouse.
It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.
When you believe in a thing,
believe in it all the way,
implicitly and unquestionable.
Laughter is timeless,
imagination has no age, dreams are forever.
First, think. Second, dream.
Third, believe. And finally, dare.
Get a good idea and stay with it.
Dog it, and work at it until it’s done right.
You may not realize it when it happens,
but a kick in the teeth may be
the best thing in the world for you.
We keep moving forward, opening new doors,
and doing new things,
because we’re curious and curiosity
keeps leading us down new paths.