In 1987, the Disney Legends program was created to recognize those who have created the Disney magic through their imagination, hard work, and incredible talent. Winners embody each of the three elements displayed on the award. The spiral on the award “stands for imagination, the power of an idea.” The hand “holds the gifts of skill, discipline and craftsmanship.” The wand and the star “represent magic: the spark ignited when imagination and skill combine to create a new dream.”
Today is the birthday of a true Disney legend that was inducted in 1996. Mr. Bill Justice was born February 9th, in Dayton, Ohio. In 1937, he began working for the Walt Disney Studios as an animator. He spent 42 years with the company until he retired in 1979. Mr. Justice animated numerous Disney classics like “Fantasia,” “Peter Pan,” “The Three Caballeros,” and “Alice in Wonderland.” He also developed three of my favorite characters: Thumper and Chip n’ Dale. He worked on 19 features and 57 shorts in total. He also directed the shorts “The Truth About Mother Goose,” “Noah’s Ark,” and “A Symposium On Popular Songs.” All three of the shorts were nominated for Academy Awards.
In 1965, Mr. Walt Disney invited him to join Walt Disney Imagineering. As an imagineer, Mr. Justice programmed audio-animatronic figures for classic attractions at Disneyland. He worked on Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, Mission to Mars, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Haunted Mansion, Country Bear Jamboree, and America Sings. Later, he also worked on the Hall of Presidents in Walt Disney World. Mr. Justice helped design floats and costumes for numerous Disneyland parades, such as The Main Street Electrical Parade (my personal favorite).
Today is Mr. Justice’s 97th birthday. His last known address was the nursing home at the address below. Fans were invited and encouraged to send him mail on his last birthday and Christmas. Even though he may not respond, I’m sure he’d like to be reminded that we in the Disney community remember him, love him, and are so thankful for all that he has done.
Arbor View Wellness & Rehabilitation Center
1338 20th Street
Santa Monica, CA 90404
Mr. Bill Justice is a truly inspiring individual. He has created so many dreams and given millions of people joy. I am so grateful for his contributions and hope that he has a most magical birthday. Happy birthday Mr. Justice!
Update: Bill Justice passed away the day after his birthday. He lived to be 97 years old.
Contributed by: Hannah N. (NDT#23) Hannah is the DDL Teens’ Viewpoint Blogger.