Since 1923, The Walt Disney Company has been comprised of a collection of talented people who, through many disciplines, have turned dreams into magic. The 2004 Disney Legends are now among 160 actors, filmmakers, animators, composers and creative people who have been honored since 1987, when Eisner first established this program of distinction and merit, and actor Fred MacMurray received the first Disney Legend designation.
"Walt Disney's legacy has continued through the passion, creativity and dedication of the individuals recognized today," said Eisner. "We owe so much to this group that represents the best of Disney -- their work is the arc that connects Disney's history with our success today."
Honorees participated in a handprint ceremony, creating imprints that will be permanently displayed in bronze at the Disney Legends Plaza. In addition, the honoree or the family of posthumous recipients received a two-foot-tall bronze Disney Legends Award sculpture. The sculpture's filmstrip, which forms the base, unrolls to represent the beginning of the Company, with Steamboat Willie at the helm. The spiral represents the soaring spirit of imagination. The hand represents the down-to-earth gifts of skill, discipline and craftsmanship. The wand represents magic -- the spark ignited whenever imagination and skill combust together to create a new dream.
Following are the 2004 Disney Legends:
Bill Anderson(a) (film and television producer) -- One of The Walt Disney Company's most prolific film and television producers, Anderson also dedicated 24 years of service as a member of Disney's board of directors. Anderson's philosophy was "Tell a good story in a light-hearted manner. Family entertainment should be fun; life is melodramatic enough."
Tim Conway (comedian/actor) -- Over the years, Conway has delighted Disney audiences with his antics in memorable live-action motion pictures, including "The Apple Dumpling Gang" (1975), "The Shaggy D.A." (1976) and "The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again" (1979). Often paired with funnyman Don Knotts, the duo inspired the kind of belly laughs reminiscent of Hollywood's legendary comedy teams, such as Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy.
Rolly Crump (Imagineer) -- Crump was one of Walt's key designers for "Haunted Mansion," "Enchanted Tiki Room" and "Adventureland Bazaar." He also served as a designer on the Disney attractions featured at the 1964-65 New York World's Fair, including "it's a small world." When the attraction moved to Disneyland in 1966, Crump designed the larger-than-life animated clock at the entrance, which sends puppet children on parade with each quarter-hour gong. Crump's works also included contributing to the initial design of the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Florida.
Alice Davis (Imagineer) -- At Walt Disney Imagineering, Davis designed and dressed animated figures for such beloved Disneyland attractions as "it's a small world" and "Pirates of the Caribbean." Collaborating with art designer and fellow Legend Mary Blair, Alice researched, designed and supervised the creation of more than 150 highly-detailed costumes for the "Audio-Animatronics" Children of the World.
Karen Dotrice (actress) -- Karen Dotrice lit up the screen in such Disney motion pictures as "The Three Lives of Thomasina" (1963), "Mary Poppins" (1964) and "The Gnome-Mobile" (1967). Walt Disney, or "Uncle Walt" as Karen knew him, felt she perfectly captured the accent and demeanor associated with her English roots. More recently, Dotrice contributed her voice to a "Mary Poppins" read-along and appeared in the ABC documentary, "Walt Disney: Man Behind the Myth" (2001).
Matthew Garber(a) (actor) -- Garber lives forever in Disney's classic live-action motion pictures "The Three Lives of Thomasina" (1963), "Mary Poppins" (1964), and "The Gnome-Mobile" (1967). Teamed with co-star, childhood friend and fellow Disney Legend Karen Dotrice in all three features, Matthew won the hearts of Disney audiences with his fresh, uninhibited and infectious personality. Matthew's unusual lack of inhibition in front of the camera quickly inspired Disney's publicity department at the time to coin him "the youngest method actor in movies."
Leonard Goldenson(a) (former Chairman of the Board of ABC) -- Leonard H. Goldenson, Founder and former Chairman of the Board of the American Broadcasting Company, Inc., is one of television's unsung heroes. In 1954, Goldenson defied skeptics who believed movie studios could not be lured into television when he struck a deal with Disney to provide ABC with "The Wonderful World of Disney." His many other pioneering achievements include "Monday Night Football" and live international coverage of the Olympics.
Bob Gurr (Imagineer) -- For nearly 40 years, Gurr helped move many a happy Disney theme park guest aboard vehicles and ride conveyances of his own design. As he's often quipped, "If it moves on wheels at Disneyland, I probably designed it." And he certainly has, developing more than 100 designs for attractions ranging from "Autopia" to the "Matterhorn" Bobsleds to the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Monorails.
Irwin Kostal(a) (conductor/orchestrator) -- An award-winning conductor and orchestrator, Kostal brought his innate musical genius to such Disney classic motion pictures as "Mary Poppins" (1964), "Bedknobs and Broomsticks" (1972) and "Pete's Dragon" (1977). He received Oscar nominations in the category of Best Music, Original Song Score and Adaptation for all three films.
Ralph Kent (Imagineer) -- Kent was originally hired at Disney to develop marketing materials for the "Jungle Cruise," "Enchanted Tiki Room" and other classic attractions. From there, he created training materials for attractions at the 1964-65 New York World's Fair, including "it's a small world." In 1965, Ralph designed the first limited-edition Mickey Mouse watch for adults. Kent also spent time as director of Walt Disney Imagineering East, overseeing Florida staff support for EPCOT Center and Tokyo Disneyland, and was also a Disney Design Group corporate trainer.
Mel Shaw (animator) -- An animator and story man, Shaw is an "elder statesmen" of animation. His talents contributed to "Fantasia" (1940), "Bambi" (1941) and "The Wind in the Willows," which later became a segment in "The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad" (1949). Additionally, he illustrated the first "Bambi" children's book for Disney while also offering skill and knowledge to such Disney motion pictures as "The Rescuers" (1977), "The Fox and the Hound" (1981), "The Great Mouse Detective" (1986), "Beauty and the Beast" (1992) and "The Lion King" (1994).
About The Walt Disney Company
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(a) honored posthumously
Editors's note: Photos available upon request