The critics called him a genius, and his peers showered him with Academy Awards. (He won all eight Oscars given for short cartoons in the 1930s.)
His father, Elias, was a strict, religious, sometimes violent man with socialist leanings. (He believed in tough love - he wouldn't even fertilize the crops, feelings his vegetables would weaken if they had it too easy.) Walt's success was an odd combination, both affirming the traditional values of his childhood and rebelling against the discipline and austerity of his Midwestern upbringing.
In 1966, Walt Disney died of lung cancer, and his brother Roy was named chairman. Before his death, Walt was witness to the 1955 opening of Disneyland in Anaheim, California. Within a short time, Disneyland became famous the world over.
The Disney studio introduced technological innovations and a new level of artistic brilliance into animation, transforming a relatively crude medium into a dazzling and sophisticated form. The years of this transformation, and Walt Disney's peak years as an artist, were the 1930s and early 1940s—a period corresponding almost exactly to the Great Depression—during which Disney produced a series of one-reel Mickey Mouse and Silly Symphony cartoons, then ambitiously tackled the making of feature-length animated films.
In the early 1930s, Disney worked with the Technicolor corporation, to add color to his cartoons. His first colored short, Flowers and Trees, won an Academy Award in 1932, and Technicolor signed an exclusive agreement to color Disney's animations.
"Disney" is also the name of the founder of a moving picture empire: Walt Disney (1901–1966), a visionary who in 1923 formed Walt Disney Productions and began producing experimental animated short films. Little did he imagine that this modest beginning would evolve into an entertainment industry giant that would create classic animated short subjects and features, live-action films and television series—and even spawn fantasy-oriented theme parks.
The Walt Disney story began in 1923, when Walt and Roy Disney started a Hollywood film studio after their first animated film business failed. They achieved a breakthrough with their new venture in 1928, when Walt directed the first Mickey Mouse animated film, titled "Plane Crazy," a silent film.
He dropped out of high school at 17 to serve in World War I. After serving briefly overseas as an ambulance driver, Disney returned in 1919 to Kansas City for an apprenticeship as a commercial illustrator and later made primitive animated advertising cartoons.
Walter Elias Disney (December 5, 1901–December 15, 1966) was a motion picture and television producer and entrepreneur. After a childhood and youth in the Midwest, Walt Disney entered the field of animated cartoon films in the 1920s and ultimately achieved world fame with the creation of Mickey Mouse.
The creation of the short cartoon "Steamboat Willie" is an iconic event because it marks the first appearance of Mickey Mouse. At this time, the mouse character didn't even have its' famous name yet and was known as "Mortimer Mouse". It is extremely interesting to learn that the very first time we hear Mickey we are actually hearing his creator Walt.