Memories of Marc Davis
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Marc Frasier Davis
March 30, 1913 - January 12, 2000
In a company full of legends, one man stood out. A sought after speaker at all Disney fan events. A man whose images were so incredible, they helped redefine two mediums - animation and theme parks. Tinker Bell, Maleficient, Cinderella, Cruella De Vil ... Haunted Mansion, America Sings, Jungle Cruise and perhaps the greatest of them all, Pirates of the Caribbean. It's safe to say millions will be enjoying the results of his labors for generations to come.
On Wednesday, January 12th, Marc Frasier Davis passed away at Glendale Memorial Hospital following a short illness. He was 86 years old. Davis is survived by his wife of 44 years, Alice, who was always by his side at the many Disney events Marc attended through the years. Alice Davis is a respected Disney figure in her own right having designed costumes for "it's a small world" and Pirates of the Caribbean.
Marc Davis began working at the Disney studios in 1935 on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. He developed young Bambi and Thumper and went on to create some of Disney's memorable women including Briar Rose and Alice in Wonderland and villainesses Cruella De Vil and Maleficient. He was a member of Walt Disney's Nine Old Men - Les Clark, Marc Davis, Ollie Johnston, Milt Kahl, Ward Kimball, Eric Larson, John Lounsbery, Wollie Reitherman and Frank Thomas - who were his key animators in the 1950s. With the passing of Davis only Ollie Johnston, Frank Thomas and Ward Kimball remain with us.
In the 50s he began working on Disneyland and had a hand in all four of Disney's 1964 New York World's Fair attractions - Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, The Carousel of Progress, Magic Skyways and "it's a small world". He later consulted on attractions for Epcot and Tokyo Disneyland. Davis was named a Disney Legend in 1989.
In recent years he's made numerous appearances at Disney fan events including NFFC, Disneyana and the Haunted Mansion special event held at Disneyland in June, 1999. He started the Marc Davis Collector's Society and his non-Disney artwork is currently showcased at the Larry Smith Fine Arts Gallery in Los Angeles. He has also completed an unpublished book on the anatomy of motion and his evocative New Guinea paintings have been collected for a forthcoming book, The Bite of the Crocodile.
In lieu of flowers, Mrs. Davis has requested that donations be made to California Institute of the Arts, as follows:
Office of the President
California Institute of the Arts
24700 McBean Parkway
Valencia, CA 91355
All donations to be made in the name of Marc Frasier Davis for the benefit of the Cal Arts Character Animation Department.
In This Article
Ed Note: Page 6 has been updated with pictures of a small tribute to Marc Davis at Disneyland's Haunted Mansion.
On the following pages, three LaughingPlace.com staff members Rick West, Ken Pellman and John Frost and another fan, Ken Pilcher share their thoughts and memories of Marc Davis. Following that is a page of Marc and Alice Davis quotes from interviews he's conducted over the years. Finally there's a two page photo gallery of Marc and Alice and Marc's work.
Lastly, we're asking anyone interested to leave their thoughts and memories of Marc Davis on the last page of the article. All comments will be forwarded to Alice Davis, Marc's wife. If you'd prefer to send your comments privately, you can email them to Rick West at Rick@themeparkadventure.com.
Marc Davis Resources
- Official Press Release from Disney
- Davis' non-Disney artwork on display at the Larry Smith Fine Art
Includes many high quality pictures of the artwork
- Marc Davis Collector's Society
Park Adventure Magazine: Pirates of the Caribbean Issue
Extensive Marc and Alice Davis interview.
- E-Ticket Magazine
Issue #32: Marc Davis Pirates Sketchbook. Theme of the issue is Pirates of the Caribbean
Issue #25: Interview with Marc and Alice Davis. Theme of the issue is Disney's Mechanized Magic
Issue #16: Interview with Marc Davis. Theme of the issue is the Haunted Mansion (sold out)
- January 14 Orange County Register article
- January 14 Los Angeles Tmes Obituary
- Associated Press Story
- Ain't It Cool News story
- Marc Davis Tribute from CritterCountry.com
- Marc Davis Tribute from "The Duckman's WDCC Message Center"
- Rick West's first story on Davis' death
- Walking in the Shadow of
Rick's inaugural West Side of the Kingdom column in which Rick discusses his personal history with Marc Davis.
Article by Rick West, John Frost, Ken Pellman, Ken Pilcher and Doobie Moseley
Pictures by Theme Park Adventure Magazine and Doobie Moseley except those that are Copyright the Walt Disney Company.
All Disney characters Copyright the Walt Disney Company
Sketches by Marc Davis, Copyright the Walt Disney Company
Collages created by Rebekah Moseley