Walt Disney was an American film producer, director, screenwriter, voice actor, animator, entrepreneur, entertainer, international icon, and philanthropist who was most known for his work on the Walt Disney Studios film franchise.
Walt Disney Productions, one of the most famous motion picture producers in the world, is best known as the brainchild of Walt Disney, who is perhaps the most well-known person in the world.
Walt Disney had a net worth of approximately $1 billion at the time of his death in 1966, according to some estimates (after adjusting for inflation). Walt Disney’s diverse assets were valued at $100 – $150 million in 1966 dollars, which equates to approximately $750 million – $1.1 billion in today’s values.
It was estimated that his investment in the Disney production company alone was worth $600 million (after adjusting for inflation). Walt Disney Inc. (founded in 1953 to handle the company’s intellectual property, design, and other assets) was also a major shareholder in which he held the largest individual interest.
A family trust was established to distribute his wealth to his wife and children, with the remaining 45 percent going to his sister and her children. He also left a 10 percent bequest to his nieces and nephews. The remaining 45 percent donated their money to a charitable organization. The majority of the cash raised by that charity was donated to CalArts, a private art school.
Early Life and Early Career
Walter Elias Disney was born on December 5, 1901, in Chicago’s Hermosa district, the fourth son of Elias and Flora Disney. He was the fourth son of Elias and Flora Disney. He had four brothers and sisters: Herbert, Raymond, and Roy, as well as Ruth, his younger sister.
While living in Marceline, Missouri as a child of four, Disney had a passion for drawing, which was fostered by his mother, who encouraged him to pursue it. One of his earliest sketching efforts was a commission to portray the horse of a retired neighborhood doctor, which he completed for a fee.
The Disney family relocated to Kansas City, Missouri, in 1911. Disney met fellow-student Walter Pfeiffer while attending the Benton Grammar School, and it was Pfeiffer who introduced Disney to the worlds of vaudeville and film pictures.
On Saturdays, Disney attended classes at the Kansas City Art Institute, where he met with other artists. In 1917, the Disney family relocated yet again, this time to the city of Chicago.
When Disney was in high school, he obtained the position of a cartoonist for the school newspaper while also enrolling in night classes at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts (now the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts).
During his early career, Walt Disney and his buddy and fellow artist Ub Iwerks worked together at the Kansas City Film Ad Company in Kansas City, Missouri. It was at this point that Disney became interested in animation for the first time.
In July 1923, Walt Disney relocated to Hollywood. However, even though his previous business endeavor, Laugh-O-Gram Studio, had gone out of business, he had made a short film based on the story “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” that combined live-action and animation.
In October 1923, he was able to successfully sign a contract with New York cinema distributor Margaret J. Winkler for six “Alice” comedies, which he produced himself. Disney founded the Disney Brothers Studio (later called The Walt Disney Company) to make the “Alice” films, which was eventually renamed The Walt Disney Company.
Disney created the renowned Mickey Mouse, who made his debut in May 1928 as part of the Walt Disney cartoon series. Disney was a pioneer in the method of creating post-produced sound cartoons
He signed a distribution agreement with Cinephone to distribute these popular sound cartoons. Later, Disney signed a distribution agreement with Columbia Pictures for the Mickey Mouse cartoons, which was the first of its kind.
Disney, dissatisfied with the format of the short cartoons he was making, began work on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which would become his studio’s first full-length feature animation.
However, even though the film’s development took four years and cost $1.5 million to complete, it was released in December 1937 to widespread critical and audience acclaim. By May 1939, the film had grossed a total of $6.5 million.
Thereafter, the company would go on to release animated pictures such as Dumbo (1941), Bambi (1943), Pinocchio (also 1940), and Fantasia (also 1940). This period is referred to as “The Golden Age of Animation” (1940). Disney’s company owed $4 million to the Bank of America as a result of the poor performance of these pictures, which resulted in bankruptcy in 1944.
In 1950, Disney returned to animated feature films with the release of Cinderella, which was a commercial and critical triumph. Other animated pictures followed, including Alice in Wonderland (1951) and Peter Pan (1953). (1953).
As time went on, Disney began devoting more of his time and resources to endeavors other than animation. This began around the mid-1950s. Disney began focusing on the building of a theme park in California after being inspired by the layout of Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen, Denmark, in the 1960s.
A team of engineers and animators were hired to work on the park’s plans, which were to be built on a parcel of land he had purchased in Anaheim, California. He used his own money to support the team, which was known as WED Enterprises (now Walt Disney Imagineering).
Disneyland officially opened its doors in July 1955 to a resounding success. Only one month after opening, the park was receiving more than 20,000 people each day and had received 3.6 million visitors by the conclusion of its first year in operation.
In February 1960, he was honored with two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame: one for his work on motion movies and the other for his work on television. He was the first African-American to be inducted into the Walk of Fame.
In addition, he was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in 1986 and the California Hall of Fame in December 2006, both of which were done posthumously. Disney continued to work on a variety of projects, including animation, films, resorts, and theme parks until he died in 1966. He had been part of a total of 81 feature films over his career.
Disney married Lillian Bound, an ink artist, in July 1925, and the couple had two kids together. They were married till he died in 1966 when they had two children. Disney died of lung cancer on December 15, 1966, only ten days after celebrating his 65th birthday. He was 65 years old.