Blaine Gibson, sculptor and Disney Legend, dead at 97
July 7, 2015 11:16 AM   Subscribe

If you've ever visited a Disney theme park, you likely saw the work of Blaine Gibson. Gibson died earlier this month at the age of 97.

He joined the Walt Disney Company in 1939 as an assistant animator, but began learning sculpture on his own time. In 1961, Walt Disney asked him to join WED enterprises (now Imagineering). Gibson went on to design audio-animatronics for Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room, it's a small world and the American Adventure at Epcot.

For the 1964 New York World's Fair, Gibson designed the Abraham Lincoln audio-animatronic for Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln (Gibson appears at :30) He either sculpted or directed the sculpture of every president in Disney's Hall of Presidents up until George W. Bush.

Gibson officially retired from Disney in 1983, but continued to consult on projects. In 1993, Gibson created the Partners Statue of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse holding hands. The statue was created for Disneyland. Later, the statue was also placed at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom and other Disney parks around the world. And in 1999 at the age of 81, he created Sharing the Magic, a statue of Roy Disney and Minnie Mouse sharing a park bench, for Walt Disney World.

As is Disney Parks tradition, Gibson was honored for his many contributions to the theme parks by having his name featured on a Main Street window in Disneyland.
posted by kimberussell (10 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Nice post. That Great Moments exhibit in Disneyland has saved me on more than one hot Disneyland visit - and it's pretty impressive to boot. What a career - thanks for making this post!
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 11:35 AM on July 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


"The skills of the sculptor and the talents of the artist," indeed. What a monumental talent.
posted by town of cats at 11:39 AM on July 7, 2015

posted by eriko at 11:45 AM on July 7, 2015

posted by oceanjesse at 11:47 AM on July 7, 2015

There was no lack of genuine talent that flowed into and out of Disney.

posted by Atreides at 2:39 PM on July 7, 2015

posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 4:47 PM on July 7, 2015

posted by Spatch at 5:31 PM on July 7, 2015

"Oh, hey, I know I retired ten years ago, but here's like one of the best statues ever."

posted by Etrigan at 5:56 PM on July 7, 2015 [4 favorites]

A coworker and friend of my father at WED for many years. (My father died in 2008.)

posted by Creosote at 6:06 PM on July 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

I love the statue of Roy and Minnie at WDW. Roy was a hell of a brother to see that Walt's vision was done right, and that Walt got all the credit.

posted by Elementary Penguin at 3:04 AM on July 8, 2015 [2 favorites]

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