On this very sad and somber date, December 15, 1966 at 9:35am, The World mourns the passing of Walt Disney. For many of us, he’ll always be known as our Uncle Walt.
Just 10 days after his 65th birthday, Walt passes away at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Burbank, Ca.
When the news of Walt’s death reaches Disneyland, consideration is given to closing his beloved Park for the day, but instead it is kept open, as Walt would have wanted. The Flag that flies in Town Square on Main Street is lowered to half-mast.
Many news services throughout the world shared personal feelings and condolences to the Disney Family, close friends and Cast Members.
Marc Davis, Disney Legend and one of the “original 9 Old Men” said when he heard the news: “I was in my office at the studio. One of the men who’s sister was a nurse at St. Joseph’s Hospital across the street from the studio called to say that Walt Disney had just died. It was a shocker!”
Disneyland Ambassador Connie Swanson said, “It was like losing a family member. Very difficult. Most of us stayed at work because that’s what Walt would have wanted us to do. The flag was lowered at half-mast. It was very, very hard, and I stood at the Town Square for the retreat that night until the flag was totally lowered. It was my way of saying Goodbye.”
It would take more time than anybody has around the daily news shops to think of the right thing to say about Walt. However, on the CBS Evening News With Walter Cronkite, commentator Eric Sevareid states this about Walt:
“He was an original. Not just an American original, but an original. Period!"
"He was a happy accident, one of the happiest this century has experienced. And judging by the way it’s behaving, in spite of all Disney tried to tell it about laughter, love, children, puppies and sunrises, the century hardly deserved him.”
“He probably did more to heal – or at least soothe – troubled human spirits than all the psychiatrists in the world. There can’t be many adults in the allegedly civilized parts of the globe who did not inhabit Disney’s mind and imagination at least for a few hours and feel better for the visitation.”
“But what Walt seemed to know was that while there is very little grown-up in every child, there is A LOT of child in every grown-up. To a child, this weary world is brand-new, gift wrapped.
Walt tried to keep it that way for adults…”
Roy Disney, Walt Disney's then 74-year-old brother, said:
"We will continue to operate Walt's company in the way that he had established and guided it. All of the plans for the future that Walt had begun will continue to move ahead."
Besides his brother, Walt Disney is survived by his widow, Lillian, two daughters, Mrs. Diane Disney Miller and Mrs. Sharon Disney Brown.
From all of us on your 51st anniversary of your passing Uncle Walt, we would like to pray that you continue to Rest In Peace.