It’s that time of the year again ladies and gentlemen, the Disney Legends Awards ceremony at the D23 Expo is almost upon us. Although, this is the 30th anniversary of this prestigious award, this will be only the 9th time the ceremony has been live at the Expo. This year’s award ceremony will be hosted by Disney’s Chairman and CEO Bob Igler. Below are all the legendary contributors to the Walt Disney Company who will be honored this year.
CLYDE “GERRY” GERONIMI:
Clyde Geronimi joined the Disney Studios in 1931, and was best known for several Mickey Mouse features, Pluto cartoons, and Silly Symphonies. After his early work in animation, Clyde became a sequence director for the 1943 film, Victory Through Air Power. He also contributed to The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, Cinderella, The Three Caballeros, Peter Pan, and One Hundred and One Dalmations. Furthermore, he directed television segments for Mickey Mouse Club and Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color. Mr. Geronimi also had the honor of acting as supervising director for Sleeping Beauty.
In 1936, Manuel Gonzales was one of the 33 artists selected from the thousands of applicants to join Disney. He took over penciling duties for the Sunday Mickey Mouse comic strip and helped bring Mickey Mouse to newspapers nationwide for nearly 40 years. His drawings appeared in 120 newspapers around the world, and averaged more than 20 million readers per week. Manuel is also one of the few to receive a “mousecar” award from Walt Disney himself in 1966.
Stan Lee started his career as a office assistant at a comic publisher in 1939 called Timely Comics – predecessor of the current powerhouse Marvel( bought by Disney in 2009). In 1941, at the age of 17, Stan made his debut with a Captain America story that changed the comic book world and was promoted to editor by the age of 18. In 1961, Stan teamed up with Jack “King” Kirby to create the Fantastic Four and the rest is history. Stan went on to co-created a massive universe of Marvel characters, including Spider-man, Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Doctor Strange, the X-Men, Falcon, and Daredevil. From this success he went on to become Marvel’s editorial director and publisher in 1972, and eventually became chairman emeritus.
Started his career as a Walt Disney Imagineer in 1965, and put his technical skills to use to help develop and install Disney attractions world-wide. Wayne’s earliest project was as a technician and machinist that helped rebuilt the shows from the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair that were installed at Disneyland California. Furthermore, Wayne was vital in the early development of Audio-Animatronics technology. He helped create Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland. Later on, he would go on to work on attractions and show systems at Walt Disney World, Disneyland Paris, and Tokyo Disney Resort.
Best known for her role as Princess Leia in the Star Wars Franchise, including the upcoming Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Carrie was known for her work as an accomplished screenwriter, author, playwright, and advocate for mental health awareness. Furthermore, she made appearances in other films, such as Scream 3(2000) and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back(2001) for Dimension films.
Best known as Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars franchise, not many know Mark’s Disney roots can be traced back to his roles in ABC’s General Hospital and MTM’s The Texas Wheelers. He is also a prolific voice actor, who made appearances in Milo Murphy’s Law, Miles from Tomorrowland, and also provided an iconic Joker voiceover for the Batman animated series. A role which won him a BAFTA Award.
Julie Taymor is known among many as the filmmaker who changed the face of Broadway with her innovative direction and adaptation of the The Lion King. Debuting in 1997, her adaptation became the most successful stage musical of all-time, having 24 global productions being seen by more than 90 million people. The show has played in more than 19 countries since its inception. It received 11 Tony Award nominations and won Julie Best Director, Costume Designer, and Best Musical. She is currently working on a new Broadway show called M. Butterfly, opening Fall 2017.
Gary started his career in Hollywood as a writer in a number of hit shows, including The Lucy Show and Dick Van Dyke Show. His breakthrough came in 1970, when he produced The Odd Couple for ABC. After that, this began a spiral of successful shows that he created. Beginning with Happy Days in 1974, and continuing with spinoffs, like Laverne & Shirley, Mork & Mindy, and Joanie Loves Chachi. Gary also directed 18 films, including multiple Disney films, such as The Princess Diaries and Pretty Woman. He also acted in two Disney films, Race to Witch Mountain and Hocus Pocus.
Oprah is an award-winning producer, talk show host, actress, and philanthropist. She hosted the The Oprah Winfrey Show for 25 seasons, which was ran in more than 100 countries around the world. In 1998, Oprah produced and starred in Beloved for Disney’s Touchstone Pictures. She also produced and starred in ABC’s 1989 limited series The Woman of Brewster Place. This led her to producing many films for ABC, including Before Woman Had Wings, Tuesdays with Morrie, and Their Eyes Were Watching God under her “Oprah Winfrey Presents” banner. Oprah also voiced Eudora in Disney’s Princess and the Frog in 2009 and is set to co-star as Mrs. Which in Disney’s 2018 film A Wrinkle In Time.