Established in 1987, the Disney Legends program recognizes people who have made an extraordinary and integral contribution to The Walt Disney Company. Imagineer Andrea Favilli created the Disney Legends award, which is handcrafted from bronze. The award depicts the arm of Mickey Mouse holding a star-tipped wand. The Disney Legends award has three distinct elements that characterize the contributions made by each talented recipient:
The Spiral … stands for imagination, the power of an idea.
The Hand … holds the gifts of skill, discipline and craftsmanship.
The Wand and the Star … represent magic: the spark that is ignited when imagination and skill combine to create a new dream.
The 2015 Disney Legend Award recipients who will be honored at the D23 Expo in Anaheim next month are:
George Bodenheimer, who retired from his role as Executive Chairman of ESPN in May 2014. Bodenheimer began working for ESPN in their mailroom in 1981. He became Executive Vice President of sales and marketing in 1996 after working his way through the ranks. He was named the network’s 5th president in 1998. In 2012, he stepped down from that role when he became the Executive Chairman of the company.
Andreas Deja is one of the greatest animators of Disney’s modern era. He is famous for his animations of Gaston for Beauty and the Beast, Jafar for Aladdin, and Scar for The Lion King. He also animated Hercules (Hercules), Lilo (Lilo & Stitch), King Triton (The Little Mermaid), Mama Odie (The Princess and the Frog), and Tigger (Winnie the Pooh). He was awarded the prestigious Winsor McCay Award for his contributions to the art of animation in 2007.
Eyvind Earle is remembered as one of Disney’s greatest artists. His career with Disney began in 1951 when he worked on the background art for Peter Pan. He won an Academy Award for his work in the 1953 animated short Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom. His most noticeable contribution, however, remains his work on Sleeping Beauty. Earle passed away on July 20, 2000.
Danny Elfman is famous for his numerous Disney scores: Alice in Wonderland, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Dick Tracy, Dead Presidents, Flubber, Good Will Hunting (Oscar® Nomination: Best Score), A Civil Action, Instinct, Frankenweenie, and Oz the Great and Powerful. He also scored the song for The Nightmare Before Christmas, for which he also provided the singing voice of Jack Skellington. He also wrote the theme for ABC’s Desperate Housewives. His music is featured in Disneyland’s annual Haunted Mansion Holiday. His upcoming Disney projects include Alice in Wonderland: Through the Looking Glass.
George Lucas really needs no introduction, does he? His films, Star Wars, perhaps you have heard of them, have made him one of the most successful filmmakers of all time. Lucas is also known for his work with Disney on Captain EO, the 3-D spectacular starring Michael Jackson, Star Tours and Indiana Jones Adventure at Disneyland, Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Indiana Jones et le Temple du Péril in Disneyland Paris, and two blockbuster Indiana Jones Adventure attractions at Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea.
Susan Lucci is best known for her portrayal of Erica Kane for 41 years on ABC’s soap opera All My Children. Lucci earned 21 Daytime Emmy nominations for this role, and won the Emmy for Best Actress on her 19th nomination.
Julie Reihm Casaletto became Disneyland’s first Ambassador in 1965 so she could assist Walt Disney. She became the template upon which decades of Ambassadors would pattern themselves.
Carson Van Osten, a writer and artist of Disney comics, created Mickey Mouse and Goofy comics for the publisher Disney Studio throughout the 1970s. He was the art director for Disney’s comic strips department in the 1980s.