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Walt Disney (1901– 1966).
W. Disney was born in Chicago on December 5, 1901 in a poor Irish family. He was the
youngest of four sons. Already in his childhood, he showed a gift for drawing and he dreamed of becoming an artist. His father sent him to high school in Chicago and in 1918
to the Academy of Fine Arts, where he studied cartoon technique under Gosset, a cartoonist on a Chicago periodical.
Disney started his film career with an advertising company. In 1920 the Kansas City Film Company took him on as a cartoonist. He began working with cartoon animation. He liked it so much that he worked on his films even at night. He made some animated advertisements and sold them to the owner of three Kansas City theatres.
His first big film was “Alice in Cartoonland” where he put a real person in a cartoon.
But he could not sell it in Kansas City. So he decided to go to Hollywood where he arrived in July, 1923. There he managed to sell “Alice in Cartoonland” in a deal calling for 12 more cartoons. The first six didn’t do well, but the seventh was a great hit. It brought Disney recognition and popularity.
When “Alice” series lost its appeal, Walt Disney created a new character – Oswald the Rabbit. Then he produced a new silent series - about Mickey Mouse (1928). Some biographers wrote that Mickey reminded of Disney himself. He had the same eyes, the pointed face and the same gift for pantomime. It is interesting to note that when Mickey Mouse started talking, he did so with Disney’s own voice. From that time on, Disney used the profits from one film to finance a new one. It was not always easy to find a distributor for his innovations.
In 1935 Disney got his first Oscar for creating Mickey Mouse. In 1936 Disney conceived a feature-length cartoon “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”. It took two years to make. It cost 1,5mln. But its success was unique. It was a real triumph. The film grossed 8 million dollars in the first year of its run. After the war Disney discovered that the cartoon shorts were no longer profitable. So he introduced another kind of short-length films: the “True Life Adventure” series. But Disney had a hard time getting a producer for the first film of the series. That is why he began to produce films himself.
Soon he became one of the USA major producers and founded his own studio called “Disney Productions”. Besides filmmaking Walt Disney tried other activities – TV and Disneyland (1935), a children’s park in California, where he tested his new ideas and attractions himself. Disney died in 1966 at the age of 65. In his lifetime, he received 32 Oscars. Most of his films are masterpieces of world film art.