Honored during a ceremony in Disney-MGM Studios
at Walt Disney World Resort were Howard Ashman, Bob Broughton, George
Bruns, Frank Churchill, Leigh Harline, Fred Joerger, Alan Menken, Marty
Sklar, Ned Washington and Tyrus Wong. They join 131 actors, film
makers, animators, composers and other creative people previously honored
since 1987 when actor Fred MacMurray received the first Disney Legend
Six of the new Disney Legends made a mark with
music, creating some of the most memorable music in Disney history --
songs such as "When You Wish Upon a Star," "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad
Wolf," "The Ballad of Davy Crockett," "Under the Sea," "Whistle While
You Work" and "A Whole New World." Other new inductees were behind
motion picture magic and the Imagineering responsible for Disney's world-renowned
Disney Chairman Michael Eisner, who spoke at
Wednesday's ceremony on the 100th anniversary of Walt Disney's birth (Dec.
5, 1901), termed the latest group of Legends "the reason our company has
such a rich heritage. They are people who didn't strive to become
household names. Instead, they strove to make memorable music and
films and animation and theme park attractions. They made their
accomplishments, not themselves, bigger than life."
Presiding at the ceremony, Roy E. Disney, feature
animation chairman and vice chairman of the board of directors of The
Walt Disney Company, said the 2001 Legends are part of "an amazing collection
of brilliant and talented individuals, all working in the service of a
common cause: to bring new levels of excellence and innovation to
every project they put their hands and hearts and minds to."
In addition to honoring the newest Legends, Roy
Disney made a special presentation to author Bob Thomas, who has written
five Disney books including the biographies of Walt and Roy O. Disney
-- Roy E. Disney's uncle and father, respectively. For the special
award, Disney Legend John Hench painted the first Mickey Mouse portrait
he has created for an individual. In the painting, Mickey is shown
reading one of Thomas's books.
Here are some of the accomplishments of the newest
* Howard Ashman and Alan Menken made a huge
Disney splash with the Oscar-winning song, "Under the Sea," written
for the 1989 animated feature The Little Mermaid. Menken
also earned the "Best Music, Original Score" Oscar for The Little
Mermaid. The duo of Ashman and Menken collaborated on another
Oscar-winner with the title song of Beauty and The Beast, which
Ashman also produced. Following Ashman's death in 1992, Menken
collaborated with lyricist Tim Rice on the Oscar-winning "A Whole New
World" and took home an additional Academy Award for the original score
of Aladdin. Menken earned later Oscars for his work on
Pocahontas, including Best Music/Song for "Colors of the Wind."
For more than 45 years, Bob Broughton devoted his skill as a camera
effects artist to nearly every Disney motion picture from Snow White
and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937 to "The Black Hole" in 1979.
As a talented camera effects artist on both animated and live-action
motion pictures, his job was to create spectacular effects in a subtle
way. For instance, in Mary Poppins, he helped Dick Van Dyke dance with
animated penguins by using Color Traveling Matte Composite Cinematography,
an award-winning technology that combined live-action and animated actors.
* George Bruns burst onto Disney's musical
scene in 1953 when he was personally hired by Walt Disney to score the
animated feature Sleeping Beauty, for which he earned an Academy
Award nomination. The greatest success among the more than 200
motion pictures and television shows for which he created music: "The
Ballad of Davy Crockett," which sold more than eight million records.
Bruns died in 1983.
* Composer Frank Churchill's toe-tapping "Who's
Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf," featured in Disney's 1933 animated short,
"Three Little Pigs," raised the spirits of countless Depression-weary
audiences who adopted the song as a resilient national anthem of hope.
Some of his other memorable Disney ditties: "Whistle While You
Work," "Heigh-Ho" and "Someday My Prince Will Come" for Snow White
and the Seven Dwarfs. Churchill died in 1942.
* Composer Leigh Harline and lyricist Ned Washington
collaborated to create "When You Wish Upon a Star." The beloved
ballad, first introduced by Jiminy Cricket in the animated feature Pinocchio,
remains the signature song of The Walt Disney Company more than 60 years
later. Harline died in 1969 and Washington, in 1976.
* Imagineer Fred Joerger helped realize Walt
Disney's visions by crafting three-dimensional miniature models of Disney
theme park attractions, as well as motion picture sets and props before
they were brought to full-scale life. He and Disney Legends Harriet
Burns and Wathel Rogers comprised the original "model shop" when Walt
began developing Disneyland. Joerger also built miniature sets
and props for Disney motion pictures, including Mary Poppins, Darby
O'Gill and the Little People and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea,
for which he created intricate models of the submarine Nautilus.
Joerger's unusual knack for creating gorgeous rockwork out of plaster
led to his reputation as Imagineering's "resident rock expert."
Among his rocky mountain high- lights: the huge stones featured
on the Jungle Cruise and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad -- in fact, most
all the rockwork at Walt Disney World Resort for its 1971 opening, including
the breathtaking atrium waterfall featured in the Polynesian Resort.
* Vice Chairman and Principal Creative Executive
of Walt Disney Imagineering Marty Sklar has stood as a dedicated torchbearer
of Walt Disney's philosophy since first joining the Company a month
before Disneyland opened in 1955. He has helped express and preserve
Walt's spirit of optimism, happiness and hope for the future through
attractions and special exhibitions in Disney theme parks around the
world. During his early years at Disney, Sklar not only learned
Walt's philosophy first hand but metabolized and translated it into
materials he wrote for the master showman, for use in publications,
on television and in special films. Today, Sklar provides leadership
for the Imagineering creative staff, which delivers breakthrough entertainment
concepts for Disney parks and resorts around the world.
* While Inspirational Artist Tyrus "Ty" Wong
worked at The Walt Disney Studios only three years, between 1938 and
1941, his impact on the animated classic Bambi endures.
As legendary animators Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston point out in
their book about the making of the motion picture, "He set the color
schemes along with the appearance of the forest in painting after painting...
Paintings that captured the poetic feeling that had eluded us (artists)
for so long... Ty Wong not only inspired the other visual artists, but
he created a standard that was met by musicians and special effects