It is perhaps fitting that we end this month’s look at The Legends the same way that we started it; celebrating another of the “Nine Old Men.”
“I love them all in different ways.” This was Marc Davis speaking about the women in his life. You will know them as Cruella De Vil, Maleficent and Tinker Bell. His pencil brought them to life.
Marc Davis was born in Bakersfield, California on March 30, 1913. His father worked in the oil business and the family moved frequently as new oil fields were developed. Consequently, Davis attended over 20 different schools growing up. Following high school he attended Kansas City Art Institute, California School of Fine Art and Otis Art Institute.
He started as an apprentice animator with The Walt Disney Studios in 1935 working on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. He was involved in character design for Bambi and his studies of animals are still considered to be some of the finest drawings created at the Studios. Like the other “Nine Old Men”, Davis worked on a number of the feature animation classics.
Later in his career Marc joined WED Enterprises and was one of the original Imagineers. His story and design concepts helped to form some of the most beloved attractions in the theme parks. Ask most people and they will admit to Pirates of the Caribbean, The Haunted Mansion and others that Davis worked on as being among their favorite attractions.
Marc Davis retired in 1978 after 43 years with the company. But even in his retirement he would occasionally add his experience to help in the creation of Epcot and Tokyo Disneyland.
Marc was honored as a Disney Legend in 1989. He received his recognition along with Walt’s other “Nine Old Men.” He died on January 12, 2000.