D23 Expo news is coming fast and furious as the convention approaches its August 9 kick-off. Today the official Disney fan club announced the 2013 inductees of the Disney Legends, a prestigious group of talented people who have left an imprint on the legacy of The Walt Disney Company.
Animation honorees account for five of the eight recipients this year. They are:
- Billy Crystal, voice of Mike Wazowski in Monsters, Inc. and Monsters University.
- John Goodman, voice of Sulley in Monsters, Inc. and Monsters University, as well as the voice of Pacha in The Emperor’s New Groove and Baloo in The Jungle Book 2.
- Steve Jobs*, co-founder of Pixar Animation Studios and board of directors member for The Walt Disney Company.
- Glen Keane, former supervising animator for Walt Disney Animation Studios and executive producer of Tangled.
- Ed Wynn*, veteran performer of Walt-era live-action Disney films and voice of Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland.
Other, non-animation inductees are former Imagineers Tony Baxter and Collin Campbell*, as well as TV personality Dick Clark*.
(* indicates a posthumous award.)
All eight recipients are very deserving of their award. Perhaps the biggest surprise (though definitely a pleasant one) is Glen Keane, whose animation has brought us some of Disney’s most enduring characters, including Ariel, Beast, Aladdin, Pocahontas, Tarzan, and many others. Keane’s involvement in Tangled was a large part of what made the film such an enduring contemporary classic. Considering the few amount of modern animators and directors who have been named Disney Legends, Keane comes as a welcome addition.
It was only a matter of time before the brilliant Wynn became a Disney Legend, as all of his fellow Mary Poppins castmates were inducted years ago. It’s appropriate that he now joins them following the success of Wreck-It Ralph, with his distinctive voice and mannerisms being inspiration for King Candy.
Crystal and Goodman are good choices, with Mike and Sulley now being such iconic characters for a generation of moviegoers, and with Monsters University re-establishing them for yet another generation. It’s a bit peculiar, though, while Pixar voices were already being added to the crop, that Tom Hanks wasn’t included. Even beyond Toy Story, he has Disney connections, especially fitting this year for his upcoming portrayal as Walt Disney in Saving Mr. Banks. (In case you’re wondering like I was, Tim Allen was already inducted in 1999.)
Steve Jobs is of course a fitting inclusion, and arguably the person on the list with the largest reach of impact, even with anything Apple-related being disregarded. If not for Jobs, there would be no Pixar, and we can all agree animation would not be what it is today without him.
The 2013 Disney Legends ceremony will take place Saturday, August 10, at 2:00 p.m. in the D23 Expo Arena at the Anaheim Convention Center. All living inductees are expected to accept their awards in person. All inductees will have a plaque in their honor placed in front of the Team Disney Michael Eisner Building at the Walt Disney Studios.