Walter Elias Disney (December 5, 1901 – December 15, 1966) was an American film producer, director, screenwriter, voice actor, animator, entrepreneur, and philanthropist best known as the creator of Walt Disney Studios and its mascot Mickey Mouse. Disney is notable as one of the most influential and innovative figures in the field of entertainment during the twentieth century. As the co-founder (with his brother Roy O. Disney) of Walt Disney Productions, Walt became one of the best-known motion picture producers in the world. Today, the corporation he co-founded, now known as The Walt Disney Company, has annual revenues of approximately U.S. $30 billion.
His most notable contribution to animation history is arguably the animated feature film. Up until Walt Disney produced Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, many critics believed that an adult audience would not be interested in an animated film for a full ninety minutes. Disney proved these critics wrong. In addition, Walt Disney produced the first sound cartoon, Steamboat Willie, and the first color cartoon, Flowers and Trees. In general, Disney was an innovator who aimed to recreate realistic-looking and believable worlds that captured the audience's attention and fulfilled their deepest fantasies.
Walt Disney is particularly noted for being a film producer and a popular showman, as well as an innovator in animation and theme park design. He received twenty-two Academy Awards and forty-eight nominations during his lifetime, holding the record for each as an individual. Disney has also won seven Emmy Awards. He and his staff created a number of the world's most famous fictional characters, including the one many consider Disney's alter ego, Mickey Mouse. He is also well-known as the namesake for Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resort theme parks in the United States, France, Japan and China.
Walt Disney died of lung cancer on December 15, 1966, a few years prior to the opening of his Walt Disney World dream project in Orlando, Florida.