On this day, December 5 in the year 1901, the pioneer in the American animation industry was born in Illinois, United States of America. His name was Walter Elias Disney, the co-founder of The Walt Disney Company and the builder of Disneyland. He was a multi-awarded actor, director, movie producer and above all, a very successful entrepreneur.
Walt Disney was the son of a farmer-turned-building contractor. He joined the US Red Cross during World War I by faking his age. After the war, he attended the Kansas City Art Institute where he met Ub Iwerks, his partner in a company that created short animations and distributed by Newman Theatre Chain. Later, the company went bankrupt, reportedly because a distributor cheated them.
Walt Disney and his business partner moved to Hollywood in 1923. With financial support from Walt’s brother Roy, the partners started The Walt Disney Company and nurtured it to become one of the biggest entertainment group. Fame and fortune were acquired with the creation of popular cartoon characters such as Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. Later, Walt released successful cartoon series like Flowers and Trees, which was the first cartoon to win an Oscar. In the following years, his company produced award-winning feature films including Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (937), Pinocchio (1940), Bambi (1941), Cinderella (1950), Alice in Wonderland (1951), Peter Pan (1953), Sleeping Beauty (1959), and his considered magnum opus Mary Poppins (1964). In 1955, Walt opened Disneyland in Southern California. Construction of Disney World in Orlando, Florida began a year before his death.
Walt Disney died of lung cancer in 1966 at the age of 65. He had one daughter and one adopted daughter with his wife Lilian Marie. The Walt Disney Company consistently ranked high among the most admired companies in the world. According to fortune.com, TWDC was the fourth most admired company in 2020.