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Obituary
The Man Who Walked With Walt


Disney’s Marty Sklar died this July in his Hollywood Hills home at the age of 83. We look back at his influential career and how he became an inspiration for so many

From Attractions Management 2017 issue 3 . . BY Tom Anstey, Leisure Media

Marty Sklar – the legendary Disney Imagineer and IAAPA Hall of Famer who played a major role in the creation of almost every Disney theme park – was an inspiration to generations of theme park designers.

His 54-year career started in 1955 as a writer of The Disneyland News for the just-opened Disneyland in Anaheim, California. Sklar went on to work closely with Walt Disney and was referred to as the “keeper of the keys” by his peers – someone who understood the Disney way because he had “learned it at Walt’s knee”.

Joining the company full-time in 1956, Sklar would act as Disney’s right-hand man, writing speeches and marketing materials and creating a film showcasing the vision for Walt Disney World and Epcot. He also joined WED Enterprises – the precursor to Walt Disney Imagineering – which he would go on to lead for the next three decades.

Working closely with Disney helped instil in Sklar a sense of the “Disney DNA”, which he circulated to his Imagineers through the doctrine of “Mickey’s Ten Commandments”.

“It was vital to instil self-belief and imagination in the team,” Sklar said, speaking to Attractions Management in 2015 (see AM/2/15). “I always said there are two ways to look at a blank piece of paper: it’s either the most frightening thing in the world or the greatest opportunity. You need to get people to see it as a chance to let their imaginations run wild.

“You have to figure out where you’re going and motivate people to help you get there. As a creative leader, I was focused on getting people to follow the foundation that we had set up and getting them to buy into and understand it. If you have a team of talented creative people, once they understand where you’re going, they really respond. That’s when the magic happens.”

In July 2009, on the 54th anniversary of Disneyland, Sklar retired from Disney as executive vice president and Imagineering ambassador, an occasion marked by a dedication in his name on Disneyland’s City Hall – the highest Disney honour.

“Everything about Marty was legendary – his achievements, his spirit, his career,” said Disney chair and CEO Bob Iger. “He embodied the very best of Disney, from his bold originality to his joyful optimism and relentless drive for excellence. He was also a powerful connection to Walt himself. No one was more passionate about Disney than Marty and we’ll miss his enthusiasm, his grace, and his indomitable spirit.”

Bob Chapek, chair of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts said: “Marty was the ultimate Disney Imagineer and Cast Member. From his days working as an intern with Walt to just two weeks ago, engaging with fans at D23 Expo, Marty left an indelible mark on Disney Parks around the globe.

“We will dearly miss Marty’s passion, skill and imaginative spark that inspired generations of Cast, Crew and Imagineers.”

Enduring legacy
Fellow Imagineer Bob Weis, who is now president of Walt Disney Imagineering, paid tribute. “Marty was one of Walt’s most trusted advisors and helped turn his most ambitious dreams into reality,” he said. “For us, it’s hard to imagine a world without Marty because Marty is synonymous with Imagineering. His influence can be seen around the world, in every Disney park, and in the creative and imaginative work of almost every themed entertainment professional in the industry.”

Recognised with the top awards and accolades, Sklar is a member of the IAAPA Hall of Fame and was named a Disney Legend in 2001. He has also been awarded the Themed Entertainment Association’s (TEA) Lifetime Achievement Award.

Sklar remained active after his retirement, regularly attending events such as the IAAPA Expo D23 Disney fan expo.

During his extensive career, Sklar played a part in the opening of every Disney park up to Shanghai Disney Resort, which opened in 2016 – the first project he would watch from the sidelines.

Marty and his wife of 60 years, Leah, were two of the founders of the Ryman Program for Young Artists, a project of Ryman Arts, a nonprofit foundation whose purpose is to teach and mentor traditional drawing and painting skills to talented young artists in Southern California. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Marty’s name to Ryman Arts at www.rymanarts.org.

He is also survived by son Howard, daughter Leslie, and their families.

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Obituary
The Man Who Walked With Walt


Disney’s Marty Sklar died this July in his Hollywood Hills home at the age of 83. We look back at his influential career and how he became an inspiration for so many

From Attractions Management 2017 issue 3 . . BY Tom Anstey, Leisure Media

Marty Sklar – the legendary Disney Imagineer and IAAPA Hall of Famer who played a major role in the creation of almost every Disney theme park – was an inspiration to generations of theme park designers.

His 54-year career started in 1955 as a writer of The Disneyland News for the just-opened Disneyland in Anaheim, California. Sklar went on to work closely with Walt Disney and was referred to as the “keeper of the keys” by his peers – someone who understood the Disney way because he had “learned it at Walt’s knee”.

Joining the company full-time in 1956, Sklar would act as Disney’s right-hand man, writing speeches and marketing materials and creating a film showcasing the vision for Walt Disney World and Epcot. He also joined WED Enterprises – the precursor to Walt Disney Imagineering – which he would go on to lead for the next three decades.

Working closely with Disney helped instil in Sklar a sense of the “Disney DNA”, which he circulated to his Imagineers through the doctrine of “Mickey’s Ten Commandments”.

“It was vital to instil self-belief and imagination in the team,” Sklar said, speaking to Attractions Management in 2015 (see AM/2/15). “I always said there are two ways to look at a blank piece of paper: it’s either the most frightening thing in the world or the greatest opportunity. You need to get people to see it as a chance to let their imaginations run wild.

“You have to figure out where you’re going and motivate people to help you get there. As a creative leader, I was focused on getting people to follow the foundation that we had set up and getting them to buy into and understand it. If you have a team of talented creative people, once they understand where you’re going, they really respond. That’s when the magic happens.”

In July 2009, on the 54th anniversary of Disneyland, Sklar retired from Disney as executive vice president and Imagineering ambassador, an occasion marked by a dedication in his name on Disneyland’s City Hall – the highest Disney honour.

“Everything about Marty was legendary – his achievements, his spirit, his career,” said Disney chair and CEO Bob Iger. “He embodied the very best of Disney, from his bold originality to his joyful optimism and relentless drive for excellence. He was also a powerful connection to Walt himself. No one was more passionate about Disney than Marty and we’ll miss his enthusiasm, his grace, and his indomitable spirit.”

Bob Chapek, chair of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts said: “Marty was the ultimate Disney Imagineer and Cast Member. From his days working as an intern with Walt to just two weeks ago, engaging with fans at D23 Expo, Marty left an indelible mark on Disney Parks around the globe.

“We will dearly miss Marty’s passion, skill and imaginative spark that inspired generations of Cast, Crew and Imagineers.”

Enduring legacy
Fellow Imagineer Bob Weis, who is now president of Walt Disney Imagineering, paid tribute. “Marty was one of Walt’s most trusted advisors and helped turn his most ambitious dreams into reality,” he said. “For us, it’s hard to imagine a world without Marty because Marty is synonymous with Imagineering. His influence can be seen around the world, in every Disney park, and in the creative and imaginative work of almost every themed entertainment professional in the industry.”

Recognised with the top awards and accolades, Sklar is a member of the IAAPA Hall of Fame and was named a Disney Legend in 2001. He has also been awarded the Themed Entertainment Association’s (TEA) Lifetime Achievement Award.

Sklar remained active after his retirement, regularly attending events such as the IAAPA Expo D23 Disney fan expo.

During his extensive career, Sklar played a part in the opening of every Disney park up to Shanghai Disney Resort, which opened in 2016 – the first project he would watch from the sidelines.

Marty and his wife of 60 years, Leah, were two of the founders of the Ryman Program for Young Artists, a project of Ryman Arts, a nonprofit foundation whose purpose is to teach and mentor traditional drawing and painting skills to talented young artists in Southern California. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Marty’s name to Ryman Arts at www.rymanarts.org.

He is also survived by son Howard, daughter Leslie, and their families.

 
 
ADVERTISE . CONTACT US

Leisure Media, Portmill House, Portmill Lane,
Hitchin, Hertfordshire SG5 1DJ Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385

©Cybertrek 2017

ABOUT LEISURE MEDIA
LEISURE MEDIA MAGAZINES
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Obituary
The Man Who Walked With Walt


Disney’s Marty Sklar died this July in his Hollywood Hills home at the age of 83. We look back at his influential career and how he became an inspiration for so many

From Attractions Management 2017 issue 3 . . BY Tom Anstey, Leisure Media

Marty Sklar – the legendary Disney Imagineer and IAAPA Hall of Famer who played a major role in the creation of almost every Disney theme park – was an inspiration to generations of theme park designers.

His 54-year career started in 1955 as a writer of The Disneyland News for the just-opened Disneyland in Anaheim, California. Sklar went on to work closely with Walt Disney and was referred to as the “keeper of the keys” by his peers – someone who understood the Disney way because he had “learned it at Walt’s knee”.

Joining the company full-time in 1956, Sklar would act as Disney’s right-hand man, writing speeches and marketing materials and creating a film showcasing the vision for Walt Disney World and Epcot. He also joined WED Enterprises – the precursor to Walt Disney Imagineering – which he would go on to lead for the next three decades.

Working closely with Disney helped instil in Sklar a sense of the “Disney DNA”, which he circulated to his Imagineers through the doctrine of “Mickey’s Ten Commandments”.

“It was vital to instil self-belief and imagination in the team,” Sklar said, speaking to Attractions Management in 2015 (see AM/2/15). “I always said there are two ways to look at a blank piece of paper: it’s either the most frightening thing in the world or the greatest opportunity. You need to get people to see it as a chance to let their imaginations run wild.

“You have to figure out where you’re going and motivate people to help you get there. As a creative leader, I was focused on getting people to follow the foundation that we had set up and getting them to buy into and understand it. If you have a team of talented creative people, once they understand where you’re going, they really respond. That’s when the magic happens.”

In July 2009, on the 54th anniversary of Disneyland, Sklar retired from Disney as executive vice president and Imagineering ambassador, an occasion marked by a dedication in his name on Disneyland’s City Hall – the highest Disney honour.

“Everything about Marty was legendary – his achievements, his spirit, his career,” said Disney chair and CEO Bob Iger. “He embodied the very best of Disney, from his bold originality to his joyful optimism and relentless drive for excellence. He was also a powerful connection to Walt himself. No one was more passionate about Disney than Marty and we’ll miss his enthusiasm, his grace, and his indomitable spirit.”

Bob Chapek, chair of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts said: “Marty was the ultimate Disney Imagineer and Cast Member. From his days working as an intern with Walt to just two weeks ago, engaging with fans at D23 Expo, Marty left an indelible mark on Disney Parks around the globe.

“We will dearly miss Marty’s passion, skill and imaginative spark that inspired generations of Cast, Crew and Imagineers.”

Enduring legacy
Fellow Imagineer Bob Weis, who is now president of Walt Disney Imagineering, paid tribute. “Marty was one of Walt’s most trusted advisors and helped turn his most ambitious dreams into reality,” he said. “For us, it’s hard to imagine a world without Marty because Marty is synonymous with Imagineering. His influence can be seen around the world, in every Disney park, and in the creative and imaginative work of almost every themed entertainment professional in the industry.”

Recognised with the top awards and accolades, Sklar is a member of the IAAPA Hall of Fame and was named a Disney Legend in 2001. He has also been awarded the Themed Entertainment Association’s (TEA) Lifetime Achievement Award.

Sklar remained active after his retirement, regularly attending events such as the IAAPA Expo D23 Disney fan expo.

During his extensive career, Sklar played a part in the opening of every Disney park up to Shanghai Disney Resort, which opened in 2016 – the first project he would watch from the sidelines.

Marty and his wife of 60 years, Leah, were two of the founders of the Ryman Program for Young Artists, a project of Ryman Arts, a nonprofit foundation whose purpose is to teach and mentor traditional drawing and painting skills to talented young artists in Southern California. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Marty’s name to Ryman Arts at www.rymanarts.org.

He is also survived by son Howard, daughter Leslie, and their families.

 


ADVERTISE . CONTACT US

Leisure Media, Portmill House, Portmill Lane,
Hitchin, Hertfordshire SG5 1DJ Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385

©Cybertrek 2017

ABOUT LEISURE MEDIA
LEISURE MEDIA MAGAZINES
LEISURE MEDIA HANDBOOKS
LEISURE MEDIA WEBSITES
LEISURE MEDIA PRODUCT SEARCH
PRINT SUBSCRIPTIONS
FREE DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTIONS