Walter Elias Disney. Walter Elias Disney (/ˈdɪzni/; December 5, 1901 – December 15, 1966) was an American entrepreneur, animator, writer, voice actor, and film producer. A pioneer of the American animation industry, he introduced several developments in the production of cartoons. As a film producer, he holds the record for most Academy Awards earned and nominations by an individual, having won 22 Oscars from 59 nominations. He was presented with two Golden Globe Special Achievement Awards and an Emmy Award, among other honors.
Golden age of animation: 1934–1941 By 1934, Disney had become dissatisfied with producing formulaic cartoon shorts, and believed a feature-length cartoon would be more profitable. The studio began the four-year production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, based on the fairy tale. When news leaked out about the project, many in the film industry predicted it would bankrupt the company; industry insiders nicknamed it "Disney's Folly". The film, which was the first animated feature made in full color and sound, cost $1.5 million to produce—three times over budget. To ensure the animation was as realistic as possible, Disney sent his animators on courses at the Chouinard Art Institute; he brought animals into the studio and hired actors so that the animators could study realistic movement.
Golden age of animation: 1934–1941 To portray the changing perspective of the background as a camera moved through a scene, Disney's animators developed a multiplane camera which allowed drawings on pieces of glass to be set at various distances from the camera, creating an illusion of depth. The glass could be moved to create the impression of a camera passing through the scene. The first work created on the camera—a Silly Symphony called The Old Mill (1937)—won the Academy Award for Animated Short Film because of its impressive visual power. Although Snow White had been largely finished by the time the multiplane camera had been completed, Disney ordered some scenes be re-drawn to use the new effects.
Golden age of animation: 1934–1941 Snow White premiered in December 1937 to high praise from critics and audiences. The film became the most successful motion picture of 1938 and by May 1939 its total gross of $6.5 million made it the most successful sound film made to that date. Disney won another Honorary Academy Award, which consisted of one full-sized and seven miniature Oscar statuettes. The success of Snow White heralded one of the most productive eras for the studio; the Walt Disney Family Museum calls the following years "the 'Golden Age of Animation’ ». With work on Snow White finished, the studio began producing Pinocchio in early 1938 and Fantasia in November of the same year. Both films were released in 1940, and neither performed well at the box office—partly because revenues from Europe had dropped following the start of World War II in 1939. The studio made a loss on both pictures and was deeply in debt by the end of February 1941.