Disney Legends Statue
Disney Lengends Statue

The first Disney Legends award went to Fred MacMurray, best known these days as the father in the 1960's television sitcom "My Three Sons," but famous to Disney fans as the star of "The Absent-Minded Professor", "Flubber" and "The Shaggy Dog", among a string of light comedies Disney made in the early 1960's. Mr. MacMurray was a famous actor in Hollywood, starring in several film noir classics like "Double Indemnity" with Barbara Stanwick and Edward G. Robinson, as well as "The Caine Mutiny" with Humphrey Bogart and Van Johnson. A close friend of Walt's, Mr. MacMurray was happy to help out when Walt needed a star for a series of small-budget family movies to bolster the company's finances at a time when they were expanding Disneyland at a feverish pitch.

Most rewarding to animation fans were the inductees in 1989 when the Studio honored the great original animators including Ub Iwerks - Walt's original partner who drew Mickey in the first Disney cartoons, and the famous Walt's Nine Old Men - the legendary artists and animators who created the pioneering features from "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" through "The Rescuers" and beyond. The outstanding gentlemen include Marc Davis, Ward Kimball, Ollie Johnston, Frank Thomas, Les Clark, Milt Kahl, Eric Larson, John Lounsbery, and Wolfgang "Woolie" Reitherman. And let's also include Ken Anderson, known as Walt's "Jack of all trades" because he was a combination artist, animator, storyteller, and Imagineer - and he was brilliant at all of them.

As noted on the Official Disney Legends page, the new Disney Legends Plaza at the Walt Disney Studios was dedicated on October 16, 1998, with a replica of the bronze statue first used in Disneyland Paris that is an enlargement of the Legends Award figure given to the honorees. And there is a bronze plaque for each honoree lining the statue.

Other years have honored actors, artists, and technicians - from Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke to Eyvind Earle. Iwerks Entertainment, the engineering company operated by Ub's sons, is also among them. In 1995, the company honored the original stars of Disneyland's Golden Horseshoe Review - Wally Boag, Betty Taylor, and Fulton Burley, as well as the famous voice artist Thurl "Tony The Tiger" Ravenscroft, whose deep baritone is heard distinctively in "The Pirates of the Caribbean" and "The Haunted Mansion" soundtracks and was the first announcer on the Disneyland Railroad. These are just a few of our favorites from The Disney Legends. The list goes on and on.

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This page was last updated on November 15, 2017.

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