Born one of five children to an Irish-Canadian mother and German-American father, Walt Disney used his incredible imagination to create a multi-billion dollar empire that still continues to thrive today. He was an amazing man that helped revolutionise the animated film industry by not just creating characters like Mickey Mouse and films like Bambi and Dumbo but also introducing synchronised sound and technical developments in cameras. We take a look at some things you probably didn’t know about this remarkable Trailblazer…
First ﬁlm studio went bust within a year.
Originally Walt Disney was an ‘ad man’, after which he started his own animation studio called ‘Laugh-o-Gram’. He started it in 1922 but it only lasted 1 year, however during that time his team had already started working on ideas like Alice in Wonderland and Cinderella.
He tried to enlist in World War 1, twice!
Walt Disney was very patriotic, so much so that he lied about his age to try and sneak in the army during the First World War but didn’t get in. Being as tenacious as he was, he tried yet again, but in Canada this time and became an ambulance driver at the age of 16!
His legendary signature wasn’t actually his.
When you think of Disney, you think of that famous signature in front of the magniﬁcent castle. However, it was 20 years after Walt Disney’s death before the company began using that iconic logo bearing his signature. In fact, that signature was designed by a series of artists to be a lot more visually pleasing than his original signature, which was still nice and clean but looked more like a standard signature than the one we see today.
His apartment in Disneyland is still there.
Disney was a self-confessed workaholic and as the creator of Disneyland it was understandable that he built an apartment for himself right there, right above the ﬁ rehouse! His apartment is still there today, with only minor alterations like repaired furniture, but everything even down to the handwritten notes on his desk can still be seen.
Won more academy awards than anyone else.
Walt Disney has won an incredible 22 Academy Awards in his time and has been nominated for 59! He also amassed 3 Golden Globes and 1 Emmy Award, not bad at all for ‘just an ad-man?’
Walt Disney was NOT cryogenically frozen.
During November 1966 Disney was diagnosed with lung cancer. A long time smoker, he died the following month at Burbank hospital on 15th December, aged 65. Shortly after his death stories began to circulate that he has been cryogenically frozen with a view to his condition one day being cured and brought back to life. The truth is that he was cremated and his ashes were interred in a mausoleum at cemetery in California.
Last ever written words were ‘Kurt Russell.’
Still to this day nobody knows why. Even actor Kurt Russell was puzzled by it. The 2 words were written on a piece of paper and left on the desk of his apartment in Disneyland, and sits there today. The only link is that a few months earlier, Disney signed the young actor to a long-term contract. Apart from that, it remains a complete mystery.