Walt Disney pioneered the creation of animation films for entertainment, producing directing, and even voicing a large majority of his work.
Many have described him as the “man who made the impossible possible” due to the legacy he left behind in the entertainment world. His films are viewed by millions of people today and make up a large bulk of Hollywood’s discography.
Here are 10 interesting facts you didn’t know about the legendary animator:
1. Mickey Mouse is Walt Disney’s most popular character and probably the most popular cartoon star in the world. However, his name was not originally Mickey. At first, Walt intended to name him Mortimer Mouse but his wife, Lilian Disney, suggested a cuter name which turned out to be Mickey.
2. Disneyland is the first of two theme parks Walt Disney built. The theme park is a major attraction for tourists around the world and boasts a larger attendance than any other theme parks in the world.
3. Walt’s wife, Lilian, was also a cartoonist like himself. He was married to her until his death and named one of the railroad cars at Disneyland after her.
4. After he released the animation of ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’, a large majority of the film industry thought it wouldn’t do well. Disney, however did not give in to the criticisms and went on to release the animation film. ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’ ended up becoming the most successful film of 1938 and is considered a classic today.
5. Disney was inspired to create Disneyland when he visited Griffith Park in Los Angeles with his daughters. Seeing how happy they were on the merry-go-round, he came up with the concept of Disneyland but didn’t implement it untill years later.
6. Disney was a workaholic. His tendency to work for long periods saw him have a nervous breakdown in 1931. Consequently, he had to take a trip to South America for an extended break.
7. There have been allegations that Disney was a racist or held negative views about Jews. However, these allegations have been opposed by many who were close to him during his lifetime.
8. Walt Disney remains the undefeated record holder of the most Academic Awards in history. He won a total of 26 Academic Awards and has a total of 59 nominations.
9. He was one of those celebrities who appeared to be warm and outgoing in the public eye but was actually ‘painfully shy’.
10. Disney died of lung cancer, having been a chain smoker during his lifetime. Legend has it that Walt Disney instructed his family to freeze his body in the hopes that future technology would bring him back to life. It is believed that he wanted to sell all his possessions in a bid to live forever.