An extraordinary figure in the entertainment industry, Walt Disney added magic and fantasy to the lives of many.
The man who gave us our beloved cartoon characters Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck among many others, Walt Disney is an extremely renowned name. A multifaceted personality, he was not only an entrepreneur, but also a director, film producer, philanthropist, voice actor and an animator. The Walt Disney Company, which was co-founded by Walt Disney and his brother Roy O. Disney, is known to be one of the best motion picture producers in the world.
The talented and notable personality Walter Disney went on to revolutionize the world of entertainment and won the hearts of children all over the world. Even today, the irrevocably creative work of the very artistic Walt Disney continues to enthrall audiences of all ages!
Name: Walter Elias Disney
Born: December 5, 1901
Died: December 15, 1966
Father: Elias Disney
Mother: Flora Call Disney
Place of Birth: Chicago, Illinois
Siblings: 3 brothers and 1 sister
The Childhood Story
When Walt turned 4 years old, the family moved to Marceline where they lived on a farm. This was where young Walt Disney developed his initial love for drawing when he met their neighbor, a retired doctor. “Doc” Sherwood encouraged young Walt to sketch his horse, Rupert, and even paid the young artist for his work.
Apart from drawing, Walt was also fascinated by trains. At the Santa Fe Railway in his town, he would enjoy waiting for the train and to spot his uncle, Michael Martin, who was an engineer conducting the train. As a summer job with the Santa Fe Railway, he sold sodas, popcorn and newspapers to the travelers.
Doodling pictures of animals and nature was young Disney’s favorite hobby. His creativity became evident at a young age, when he convinced his younger sister, Ruth, to help him paint the side of their house with tar.
The Disney family moved to Kansas City in 1911. Here, Walt and his sister Ruth attended the Benton Grammar School, in addition to Saturday courses at the Kansas City Art Institute.
Young Walt frequently visited Electric Park with his sister. This was the place which is said to have influenced his design of Disneyland in later years.
In 1917, the family moved to Chicago, where Walt started his freshman year at McKinley High School and also attended night classes at the Chicago Art Institute. It was around this time that he started drawing for the school newspaper.
Walt’s father was a strict man and the family often experienced financial constraints. This, however, did not stop his mother and brother, Roy, from encouraging Walt to pursue his interest.
At the age of 16, Walt dropped out of high school. He wanted to join the army, but was refused permission as he was underage. He then decided to join the Red Cross along with a friend, following which he was sent to France. Walt spent a year driving an ambulance in France. The ambulance was covered with drawings of cartoon characters!
Did You Know?
Walt Disney was a talented actor and performer. Often, he would entertain his friends by imitating his favorite hero, Charlie Chaplin. It is said that he would sneak out of the house at night to perform acts at local theaters, even though his father was against the idea. Maybe, this is what inspired him initially to be the voice behind Mickey Mouse.
As a child, Walt owned a pet Maltese terrier, on the family farm at Marceline.
Young Walt Disney enjoyed a meal of chili with beans, soda crackers, and tomato juice.