Photo of Walt Disney Walt Disney

The man who introduced Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and Donald to the world was born Dec. 5, 1901, in Chicago. Ever precocious, Walter Elias Disney entered the Kansas City Art Institute at age 14, and by age 16, he was driving ambulances in France at the end of World War I.

After returning home, Disney joined artist Ub Iwerks in forming Laugh-O-Grams, which sold satirical cartoons to a local theater. By 1923, Disney was Hollywood bound, and not long after, both his studio and his most beloved character -- Mickey Mouse (which Disney himself voiced) -- were born.

After the success of his first animated feature -- 1937's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs -- Disney never looked back, producing a fabulously inventive body of work before he died in 1966 that included animated and live-action films such as Fantasia and Mary Poppins, the long-running "Disneyland" TV show and his popular family theme park.

Walt Disney in Fantasia


1940 G

This Oscar-winning Disney classic is composed of eight animated segments (each set to the music of a different composer), including "The Sorcerer's Apprentice," in which Walt Disney himself provides the voice of Mickey.

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