Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Walt Disney

               Walter Elias “Walt” Disney was born on December 5, 1901, in Chicago, Illinois.  His parents, Elias Disney and Flora Call Disney, met and married in Florida and moved several times before Walt’s birth.  Walt had at least three brothers --- Roy Oliver Disney, Herbert Disney, and Ray Disney --- and one sister, Ruth.  He married Lillian Bounds on July 25, 1925, and the couple had two daughters, Diane Marie Disney and Sharon Mae Disney.  Disney also had at least one nephew, Roy Edward Disney.

                Disney had interesting ancestry.  Elias Disney was Irish-Canadian, and Flora Call Disney was German-English.  “His great-grandfather, Arundel Elias Disney, had emigrated from Gowran, County Kilkenny, Ireland, where he was born in 1801.  Arundel Disney was a descendant of Robert d’Isigny, a Frenchman who had travelled to England with William the Conqueror in 1066.  With the d’Isigny name anglicized as `Disney’, the family settled in a village now known as Norton Disney, south of the city of Lincoln, in the county of Lincolnshire.”

                The Disney family moved numerous times during Walt’s childhood and youth but moved back to Chicago in 1917.  That fall Walt “began his freshman year at McKinley High School and took night courses at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts under the tutelage of artist and educator Louis Grell (1887-1960).  He became the cartoonist for the school newspaper, drawing patriotic topics on World War I.  With a hope to join the army, Disney dropped out of high school at the age of sixteen, but was rejected for being underage.  Afterwards, Disney and a friend joined the Red Cross.  He was soon sent to France for a year, where he drove an ambulance, but only after the armistice was signed on
November 11, 1918.

                “Hoping to find work …, Walt moved back to Kansas City in 1919 to begin his artistic career.  He considered becoming an actor, but decided to draw political caricatures or comic strips for a newspaper.  When nobody wanted to hire him as either an artist or as an ambulance driver, his brother Roy, then working in a local bank, got Walt a temporary job through a bank colleague at the Pesmen-Rubin Art Studio, where he created advertisements for newspaper, magazines, and movie theaters.  At Pesmen-Rubin he met cartoonist Ubbe Iwerks and, when their time at the studio expired, they decided to start their own commercial company together.

                “In January 1920, Disney and Iwerks formed a short-lived company called `Iwerks-Disney Commercial Artists’.  However, following a rough start, Disney left temporarily to earn money at the Kansas City Film Ad Company.  He was soon joined by Iwerks, who was not able to run their business alone.  While working for the company, where he made commercials based on cutout animation, Disney became interested in animation and decided to become an animator….”

                Disney became a business magnate, cartoonist, filmmaker, philanthropist, and voice actor.  He became a prominent figure in the American animation industry; he became known for his influence and contributions to entertainment during the 20th century.  Disney and his brother Roy co-founded The Walt Disney Company.

                “As an animator and entrepreneur, Disney was particularly noted as a filmmaker and a popular showman, as well as an innovator in animation and theme park design.  He and his staff created various fictional characters including Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy.  Disney himself was the original voice for Mickey.  During his lifetime, he received four honorary Academy Awards and won 22 Academy Awards from a total of 59 nominations, including a record of four in one year, giving him more awards and nominations than any other individual in history.  Disney also won seven Emmy Awards and gave his name to the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resort theme parks in the U.S., as well as the international resorts, Tokyo Disney Resort, Disneyland Paris, and Hong Kong Disneyland.”

                “Walt Disney was a chain smoker his entire adult life, although he made sure he was not seen smoking around children.  In 1966, Disney was scheduled to undergo surgery to repair an old neck injury….  On November 2, during pre-operative X-rays, doctors … discovered a tumor in his left lung.  Five days later a biopsy showed the tumor to be malignant and to have spread through the entire left lung.  After removing the lung on November 11, the surgeons informed Disney that his life expectancy was six months to two years.  After several cobalt therapy sessions, Disney and his wife spent a short time in Palm Springs, California.  On November 30, Disney collapsed at his home….”

                Disney was rushed to the hospital in Burbank, California, where he passed away on December 15, 1966, at 9:30 a.m., ten days after his 65th birthday.  He died of acute circulatory collapse, caused by lung cancer.   His body was interred in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, California.

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