Walter Elias "Walt" Disney (December 5, 1901 – December 15, 1966) was an American film producer, director, screenwriter, voice actor, animator, entrepreneur, entertainer, international icon and philanthropist. Disney is famous for his influence in the field of entertainment during the 20th century. As the co-founder (with his brother Roy Oliver Disney) of Walt Disney Productions, Disney became one of the best-known motion picture producers in the world. The corporation he co-founded, now known as The Walt Disney Company, today has annual revenues of approximately U.S. $35 billion.
Disney is particularly noted for being a film producer and a popular showman, as well as an innovator in animation and theme park design. He and his staff created a number of the world's most famous fictional characters including Mickey Mouse, a character for which Disney himself was the original voice. He has won 26 Academy Awards out of 59 nominations, including a record four in one year, giving him more awards and nominations than any other individual. He also won seven Emmy Awards. He is the namesake for Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resort theme parks in the United States, as well as the international resorts in Japan, France, and China.
A very controversial issue concerns the sympathy of Disney for nationalist regimes in Europe before the Second World War. According to some sources Disney was received in Rome by Mussolini on one or two occasions during the 1930's. It has also been argued as evidence of his sympathy for National Socialism his association with Gunther Lessing: Disney’s lawyer who allegedly attended Silver Shirt and German American Bund meetings with him in southern California.
Disney was one of the few filmmakers who welcomed German National Socialist documentarian Leni Riefenstahl when she visited Hollywood in 1938. Disney has sometimes been branded anti-Semitic with the claim that Jews appear as stereotyped characters and malevolent figures in some short films of the 1930s particularly in The Three Little Pigs (1933).
Walt Disney was a 33rd degree Freemason.
Promotion of space exploration
Disney died of lung cancer in Burbank, California on December 15, 1966. The following year, construction began on Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. His brother Roy Disney inaugurated The Magic Kingdom on October 1, 1971.
- Walt Disney Academy awards. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved on 2008-05-21.
- [http://natomalodge64.com/FreemasonryHist.html Freemasonry History}
- The Disney-Von Braun Collaboration and Its Influence on Space Exploration