Very quick thumbnail sketch of the
Walter Elias "Walt" Disney - artist, entrepreneur, innovator, filmmaker, and theme-park impresario - gave birth to a sprawling entertainment enterprise that, in the half-century since his death in 1966, remains a fixture in the culture unlike any other. A titan of the American Century, Walt Disney was also one of its most contradictory figures. A genius who got only as far as the ninth grade, he seemed to be many things other than what he really was. One of Hollywood's most successful men, he played polo on the weekends but otherwise shunned any form of socializing, driving himself home from work each night in his Packard roadster in time to play with his children. At the peak of his career, he was known to millions of Americans as the smiling, avuncular man with the slicked hair, pencil-thin mustache, and gentle voice who introduced the most wholesome show on television every Sunday evening - and to the people who worked for him as a fiery and impatient man who believed the only way to do anything was his way. Walt Disney was, in short, quite a story.