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Disney Announces its Legends Class of 2015

July 14, 2015, 10:54 AM · The Walt Disney Company today announced the individuals it will honor as "Disney Legends" during the D23 Expo in Anaheim next month. The Disney Legends Award is the company's highest honor for cast members and contributors, starting in 1987 with the selection of actor Fred MacMurray. Honorees over the years have included Imagineers X Atencio, Harriet Burns, Marc Davis, Blaine Gibson, Harper Goff, Yale Gracey, Bob Gurr, John Hench, Ward Kimball, Sam McKim, Herb Ryman, Martin Sklar, and, inducted at the last D23 Expo, Tony Baxter.

Disney Legends Plaza
The Disney Legends sculpture at Disney's corporate headquarters in Burbank, California.

No former Imagineers are included among this year's honorees, although the honorees include several with theme park connections.

The big name on this year's list is Star Wars creator George Lucas, who first started working with Disney on theme park attractions such as Star Tours and the Indiana Jones Adventure, before eventually selling his Lucasfilm production company and franchises to Disney in 2012.

Danny Elfman scored multiple Disney films, including The Nightmare Before Christmas, Alice in Wonderland, and Avengers: Age of Ultron. He also scored the Mystic Manor ride at Hong Kong Disneyland.

Julie Reihm Casaletto was the very first Disney Ambassador, creating the role in 1965 at Disneyland.

Eyvind Earle was one of Disney's most accomplished artists in the classic era, most noted for his work on Sleeping Beauty.

Andreas Dejas animated several iconic Disney villains from the modern era, including Gaston, Scar, and Jafar, as well as Stitch, Hercules, and King Triton.

Carson van Osten designed the logos for Mickey Mouse’s 50th and 60th birthdays, as well as the Walt Disney Studios logo and water tower design.

Susan Lucci is the long-time star of ABC's soap opera "All My Children."

George Bodenheimer is a former president of ESPN.

Each honoree receives a two-foot-tall replica of the bronze Disney Legends sculpture and also will participate in a handprint ceremony to create the bronzed prints will be displayed in the Disney Legends Plaza at the Disney's Burbank headquarters.

The honorees will be inducted during a ceremony at 10am on Friday, Aug. 14 at the D23 Expo. The other big highlight for theme park fans at this year's Expo will be the Disney Parks presentation at 3pm on Aug. 15. D23 Expo events are open to the public and tickets are available online.

Replies (8)

July 14, 2015 at 11:51 AM · Nice to see Mr. Elfman get this level of recognition! Outstanding!
July 14, 2015 at 12:53 PM · George Lucas? Seriously? No offense, but how about showing some love for actors who have provided the voices to numerous and numerous characters in the Disney family, such as Jim Cummings, Corey Burton, Tress MacNeille, and Susanne Blakeslee.
July 14, 2015 at 1:07 PM · Thrilled about Danny Elfman.
July 14, 2015 at 3:04 PM · George Lucas is an odd entry because he never was on the Disney payroll. He just licensed his IP and worked with Disney instead of for Disney. He is definitely a legend. I just don't think he's a Disney legend. They should provide a bit more justification, but I guess this is just a honor that means little to anyone else.
July 14, 2015 at 3:52 PM · Buzz Price never was a Disney employee, so there's long-standing precedence for non-cast members getting this honor.
July 14, 2015 at 3:59 PM · Maybe they're giving Lucas this award for giving them full rights to an IP that will make them 100x more money? Lol. The rest of the honorees are pretty worthy, especially Elfman! If I had a penny for every time a Nightmare Before Christmas sing got stuck in my head, I could buy out all of the Disney and Universal resorts around the world!
July 14, 2015 at 11:24 PM · Jim Henson also wasn't a Disney employee, but received the award, posthumously. Both are worthy of the award because Disney acquired their creations. There are other people worthy of the award sure, but Lucas deserves it for creating one of the most popular movie series of all time. The real outrage should be over Susan Lucci.
July 15, 2015 at 11:35 AM · To all who don't understand why George Lucas is earning a Disney Legend award, He has contributed by the likes of Star Tours, Indiana Jones rides and stunt shows and Captain EO. As stated its given to the people who contributed to the company.

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