It is with great sadness that pass along word of the death of Blaine Gibson – the man who sculpted the Disney world.
Gibson joined The Walt Disney Studios in 1939 as an animator and worked on many projects, including feature length films. Among his animation credits are Fantasia, Bambi, Song of the South, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, Sleeping Beauty, and One Hundred and One Dalmatians. Gibson continued to work on the craft of animation, but at home his hobbies included a passion for sculpting.
In 1954, Walt was assembling his team of Imagineers and remembered being impressed by an exhibit of Gibson’s animal sculptures. Walt asked him to help out the fledgling WED Enterprises as they worked on his Disneyland project. In 1961 he became the head of the Imagineering sculpture department.
Over his career he created hundreds of Audio-Animatronics for Disney’s most iconic attractions including President Abraham Lincoln, the Pirates figures and all the presidents at the Hall of Presidents (ending with George W. Bush). Gibson retired in 1983, but would continue to mentor new imagineers, and consult on projects with Disney.
Gibson’s most photographed work is the famed “Partners” statue which debuted at Disneyland in 1993, but later appears in every Disney resort. It features Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse holding hands and has become an icon for the company. Gibson later created a life-size bronze of Roy O. Disney with Minnie Mouse for Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom.
We hope the family and friends of Blaine Gibson know what his artwork means to us fans. Rest in peace Blaine, you made the magic real.