D23Press Release

2024 Disney Legend Award Honorees

D23 ANNOUNCES EXTRAORDINARY LINE UP OF 2024 DISNEY LEGENDS AWARD HONOREES

D23: The Ultimate Disney Fan Event to Conclude Weekend of Unparalleled Programming with Spectacular Disney Legends Awards Ceremony

Renowned Host Ryan Seacrest Will Present the Awards to Incredible Visionaries and Talent at the Forefront of Their Fields, Including Colleen Atwood, Angela Bassett, Martha Blanding, James L. Brooks, James Cameron, Jamie Lee Curtis, Miley Cyrus, Steve Ditko, Harrison Ford, Mark Henn, Frank Oz, Kelly Ripa, Joe Rodhe, and John Williams

2024 Disney Legends

BURBANK, California – March 19, 2024 – After a weekend of can’t-miss programming, D23: The Ultimate Disney Fan Event presented by Visa®, will conclude on Sunday, August 11, with the Disney Legends Awards Ceremony. The Disney Legends Award honors artists and visionaries throughout the company’s history who have pushed the envelope of creativity, challenged conventional wisdom, and broken the restraints of the status quo in search of new possibilities and excellence. The ceremony will take place at 5 p.m. at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California.

“To be named a Disney Legend is the highest honor our company can bestow on anyone, reserved for those whose talent and achievement have earned them an enduring place in our history,” said Bob Iger, Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company. “The fourteen individuals to be honored as Disney Legends this year have each made extraordinary creative contributions across the worlds of Disney and we look forward to celebrating them at D23: The Ultimate Disney Fan Event.”

 

This year’s honorees include Colleen Atwood, Angela Bassett, Martha Blanding, James

L. Brooks, James Cameron, Jamie Lee Curtis, Miley Cyrus, Steve Ditko, Harrison Ford, Mark Henn, Frank Oz, Kelly Ripa, Joe Rohde, and John Williams. Ryan Seacrest, the host of American Top 40, as well as American Idol and Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve on ABC, will host the 2024 Disney Legends Awards Ceremony that will be filled with heartwarming tributes to each of the honorees, along with special guests, performances, and a legendary production like no other.

The Disney Legends Awards program is a 37-year tradition of The Walt Disney Company, which began when Fred MacMurray (The Shaggy Dog, The Absent-Minded Professor, The Happiest Millionaire) was honored in 1987. The awards ceremony is just one of the many spectacular events fans can enjoy during the three-day D23: The Ultimate Disney Fan Event in August 2024.

The 2024 Disney Legends Award honorees (listed alphabetically) are:

COLLEEN ATWOODCOLLEEN ATWOOD

For Colleen Atwood, designing costumes for movies both fantastical and fabulous is like creating her own Wonderland. This prolific costume designer has been nominated for an Academy Award® a dozen times and has won four Oscars®, including for her visually evocative work in Alice in Wonderland (2010). Born in Ellensburgh Washington, Colleen briefly studied painting at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle. Working in high fashion retail at designer boutiques, her strong sense of visual style enabled her a start as a fashion advisor. Through that world, Colleen was offered an unexpected opportunity to be a production assistant in the art department on Ragtime (1981). In New York, Colleen was fortunate enough to align with many New York filmmakers such as Jonathan Demme, Michael Apted, and Michael Mann. Colleen was introduced to filmmaker Tim Burton—and soon would be Burton’s go-to costume designer. Their first film together, Edward Scissorhands, was the first of 12 Burton movies she designed costumes for, including Disney’s live-action reimagining of Alice in Wonderland (2010) and Dumbo (2019). The upcoming Beetlejuice Beetlejuice (2024) will mark the creative duo’s 13th collaboration. For the over 50 films and TV series, she has costumed, many of them center on visually stunning imaginary environments that call for a lot of world-building. It’s Colleen’s ability to cross and blend genres in her approach to character costuming that has enabled her work in such fantastic films as Planet of the Apes (2001), Into the Woods (2014), Alice Through the Looking Glass (2016), Lady and the Tramp (2019), and The Little Mermaid (2023).

ANGELA BASSETTANGELA BASSETT

It takes a strong woman to portray a strong female character, and Angela Bassett fits the bill. From her breakout role as single mother Reva Devereaux in John Singleton’s Boyz n the Hood (1991), to her portrayal of fierce Queen Ramonda of Wakanda in Marvel’s Black Panther films, Angela’s unmistakable voice, signature delivery, and grand presence command immediate attention. Born in New York City, Angela lived in North Carolina until the age of 4, when her family moved to St.

Petersburg, Florida. The first Black student attending Boca Ciega High School to be admitted to the National Honors Society, Angela went on to Yale, where she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in African American Studies in 1980 and a Master of Fine Arts from the Yale School of Drama in 1983. In 1988, she moved to Los Angeles. Angela has portrayed many real-life characters, including Coretta Scott King and Rosa Parks, but it was her powerful portrayal of Tina Turner in Touchstone Pictures’ What’s Love Got to Do with It (1993) that earned her numerous accolades, including an Academy Award nomination and a Golden Globe® for Best Actress, making her the first Black performer to win in this category. She received two Emmy® nominations for outstanding narrator

for National Geographic’s The Flood (2018) and the Disney+ docuseries The Imagineering Story (2019), and was nominated for her second Academy Award, this time in the Best Supporting Actress category, for the role of Queen Ramonda in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022). She is also the star and executive producer of the hit drama 9-1-1, voiced Dorothea Williams in Disney and Pixar’s Academy Award- winning animated feature Soul (2020), and received an Honorary Academy Award in 2024.

MARTHA BLANDINGMARTHA BLANDING

Martha Blanding helped put the “happy” in The Happiest Place on Earth. As the first permanent full-time Black Tour Guide, Martha personified the philosophy of creating happiness for others while embodying the principles of hospitality and courtesy Walt Disney sought to establish for Disneyland Cast Members. Once hired as a Tour Guide, she quickly climbed the ladder to become a VIP Hostess. Martha later became the first- ever Black woman in management at Disneyland as an expert merchandise, candy, and film buyer for 16 years, and later became the senior manager of Disneyland Resort Merchandise Special Events. In this role, she worked with world-renowned artisans, celebrities, and Disney Legends. She was considered one of the few pioneering producers of the Official Disneyana Convention, a forerunner of today’s D23: The Ultimate Disney Fan Event. A co-founder of PULSE, a business employee resource group for Black Disneyland Cast Members, Martha served as a trusted mentor to fellow employees. Adding to the many “firsts” during her career before retiring in 2022, Martha was the first Black Cast Member to commemorate 50 years with the Disneyland

Resort, and now becomes the first Black Disney Parks employee designated a Disney Legend.

JAMES L. BROOKSJAMES L. BROOKS

Acclaimed for character driven, writer centric projects that deftly combine comedy and poignancy—such as 20th Century’s Broadcast News (1987)—James L. Brooks is a TV and film icon responsible for some of the most beloved entertainment projects of all time. James made one of the most impressive directorial debuts in film history with Terms of Endearment (1983), for which the multi-hyphenate took home three Oscars for writing, producing, and directing. Growing up in New Jersey, James’ career trajectory kicked off as a writer for CBS News in New York. When he moved to Los Angeles in 1965, a chance meeting with established writer Allan Burns led to his writing for television comedies, and before long, James created the groundbreaking ABC series Room 222 in 1969 and Taxi in 1978. In 1986, James founded his production company, Gracie Films, where he and his team are trailblazers in the world of television. At James’ invitation, Matt Groening created animated interstitials for the company’s The Tracey Ullman Show featuring a dysfunctional family, which led to a full-fledged animated series—the first since the 1960s—The Simpsons, in 1989. The longest-running primetime scripted show in television history, The Simpsons quickly exploded into a cultural phenomenon. Currently in its 35th season, The Simpsons has won 37 Emmy Awards. James also co-produced and co-wrote The Simpsons Movie in 2007. James, who continues to serve as executive producer of the misadventures of the animated citizens of Springfield, maintains that the

series has not outlived its popularity, especially now with it streaming on Disney+. Brooks is currently working on his next feature film for 20th Century Studios, Ella McCay.

JAMES CAMERONJAMES CAMERON

James Cameron is an acclaimed filmmaker, ocean explorer, and environmental advocate. As a director, a writer, and a producer, he’s responsible for some of the world’s most memorable films including The Terminator (1984), Aliens (1986), The Abyss (1989), Titanic (1997), Avatar (2009), and Avatar: The Way of Water (2022), the latter three being three among the four highest grossing films of all time. Titanic alone won 11 Oscars, including James’ for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Editing. He is currently in post-production on Avatar 3, and in pre-production on Avatar 4 and 5.

Teaming up with Walt Disney Imagineering in 2011, James helped to steer the creation of an Avatar-inspired area of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. The result, Pandora – The World of Avatar, is an area that immerses guests in an interactive environment that brings the world of the film series to life, and features the popular attractions Avatar Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey. Under his Earthship Productions banner, James has produced 12 documentaries, including six about Titanic, as well as three other deep ocean exploration films, most in partnership with National Geographic. He executive produces National Geographic’s Secrets series, including the Emmy Award-winning Secrets of the Whales and Emmy-nominated Secrets of the Elephants, with Octopus launching on

Earth Day 2024. He also executive produced the OceanXplorers series, due in Fall 2024 from National Geographic.

JAMIE LEE CURTISJAMIE LEE CURTIS

Born in Santa Monica, California, to Hollywood power couple Janet Leigh and Tony Curtis, Jamie Lee Curtis excelled as a performer early on, winning people over with her exuberant personality. Originally planning to major in law enforcement, an acting manager suggested Jamie Lee try auditioning. To her surprise, she was signed to a contract at Universal, one of the last performers to be so engaged. She was later cast as iconic “Scream Queen” Laurie Strode in John Carpenter’s thrilling classic Halloween (1978), establishing her trajectory as a bona fide movie star. The Oscar winner has demonstrated her versatility with a variety of captivating roles over her career, including suburban housewife-turned-international-spy Helen Tasker in True Lies (1994) and no-nonsense mom Tess Coleman in Disney’s remake of the classic body-swap comedy Freaky Friday (2003). In 2023, Jamie Lee returned to both Disney and the macabre genre to portray the legendary Madame Leota in Haunted Mansion, inspired by the classic Disneyland theme park attraction. The author of 13 best-selling books, all exploring core childhood issues, she is also the founder and CEO of My Hand in Yours™, a charitable organization that offers comfort and celebratory gifts where 100% of every sale is donated directly to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. For her many performances, Jamie Lee has received a British Academy Film Award, two Golden Globes, and nominations for a Primetime Emmy and a Grammy®. Most recently, she won an Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022).

MILEY CYRUSMILEY CYRUS

Miley Cyrus is an award-winning superstar singer, songwriter, and actress who first rose to fame as a Disney Channel sensation. Miley started her acting career at the age of 8, and by the age of 13, she auditioned for the Disney Channel series Hannah Montana. The series premiered in March 2006 to the largest audience for a Disney Channel Original Series, drawing an average of 4.4 million viewers per episode. A 2007 episode of the series still ranks as the highest-rated basic cable series telecast ever, with 10.7 million total viewers. She embarked on her wildly popular Best of Both Worlds Tour in 2007, and in 2008, she voiced the character of Penny in Walt Disney Animation Studios’ feature Bolt. For the film, Miley earned a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Original Song (“I Thought I Lost You”). The following year, she took center stage once again for the lead in Hannah Montana: The Movie, which included the hit song “The Climb.” 2023 saw the release of Miley’s album Endless Summer Vacation, which inspired the documentary concert special Endless Summer Vacation (Backyard Sessions), streaming on Disney+. At the 66th Annual Grammy Awards in 2024, Miley was honored with her first-ever wins for Record of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance. At just 31 years old, Miley is now the youngest honoree ever to be named a Disney Legend.

STEVE DITKOSTEVE DITKO

Originally hailing from Johnstown, Pennsylvania, Steve Ditko’s love for comics began at a young age. After serving in the U.S. Army, where he drew comics for the Army newsletter, one of his idols, Batman artist Jerry Robinson, became his mentor. By the early 1950s, his first work appeared in print, and shortly thereafter made his way to Atlas Comics, the precursor of Marvel Comics. The artist would quickly leave his mark, leading Disney Legend Stan Lee to rechristen Amazing Adventures as Amazing Adult Fantasy (later Amazing Fantasy) to showcase Steve’s talents. In 1962, that collaboration led to one of the most popular comic book characters of all time. The introduction of Spider-Man in Amazing Fantasy #15 stands as one of the landmarks of both Steve’s career and Marvel history. Steve went on to co-create most of Spider-

Man’s now-infamous rogues’ gallery and re-envisioned many of Marvel’s iconic

characters to what we know today. He redesigned Iron Man’s armor into the popular red and gold design, and in the Hulk comics, he codified Bruce Banner’s transformations to be a function of his anger. It is perhaps with Doctor Strange, Master of the Mystic Arts, that Steve truly expressed his visionary impulses—the early stories in Strange Tales could only have come from the mind of Steve Ditko. He left Marvel to pursue other work in 1966 but returned in 1979. In the 1990s, Steve helped to co-create all-new characters, including Speedball and Squirrel Girl. One of the greatest artist-writer talents in comic book history, Steve’s imagination and creative vision changed the comics industry and super hero storytelling forever.

HARRISON FORDHARRISON FORD

Harrison Ford has portrayed some of the most iconic action heroes to ever burn up the big screen. After appearing in a small but impressive role in American Graffiti (1973), directed by fellow Disney Legend George Lucas, Harrison proved to be perfect for the role of Han Solo, cynical smuggler and captain of the Millennium Falcon in Star Wars: A New Hope (1977). He would go on to portray Han in all three episodes of the original

Star Wars trilogy. Harrison also stars as the titular character in the blockbuster Indiana Jones films.

Over his decades-long career, Harrison has been widely honored for his many contributions to the film industry, including the British Academy of Film and Television Arts’ Albert R. Broccoli Britannia Award, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s Cecil B. DeMille Award, the American Film Institute’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and in 2023 was the recipient of an honorary Palme d’Or from the Cannes Film Festival.

Some of his most notable film credits include an Oscar-nominated performance in Witness (1985), along with Blade Runner (1982); 20th Century’s Working Girl (1988); Presumed Innocent (1990); Patriot Games (1992); The Fugitive (1993); Clear and Present Danger (1994); Sabrina (1995); Air Force One (1997); Touchstone Pictures’ Six Days, Seven Nights (1998); What Lies Beneath (2000); Morning Glory (2010); 42 (2013); Blade Runner 2049 (2017); and 20th Century Studios’ The Call of the Wild (2020). Harrison also stars in the hit television shows 1923 and Shrinking.

More recently, Harrison returned to a couple of his most celebrated roles. For the fourth time in the film series, he portrayed Han Solo in Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015), and once again donned Indy’s fedora in the fifth Indiana Jones installment, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (2023). Harrison will also appear as President Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross in the Marvel Studios live-action adventure Captain America: Brave New World, to be released in 2025.

MARK HENNMARK HENN

Mark Henn joined Walt Disney Animation Studios in 1980, where he became an assistant animator on The Fox and the Hound (1981). His first major assignment was animating Disney’s most beloved character, Mickey Mouse, in Mickey’s Christmas Carol (1983), marking Mickey’s first big-screen appearance in 30 years. Mark would go on to serve as the supervising animator for young Simba as well as five female leads, more than any artist in the history of the studio: Ariel (supervised with fellow Disney Legend Glen Keane), Belle (supervised with James Baxter), Jasmine, Mulan, and Tiana. He also animated Simba from The Lion King (1994), the title character in Pocahontas (1995), and Giselle from Enchanted (2007). Most recently, Mark has helped a whole new generation of Disney animators bring “the illusion of life” to character animation in CG features such as Ralph Breaks the Internet (2018). He was lead 2D animator on Big Hero 6 (2014) and Frozen (2013), and served as a 2D animator for “Mini Maui” in Moana (2016). In 2000, Mark brought his vast animation experience to directing with the acclaimed short John Henry. In 2013 he received the prestigious Winsor McCay award for lifetime achievement, ASIFA’s highest award in animation. And in 2018, befitting his longtime association with Mickey Mouse, Mark was commissioned to paint Mickey’s official portrait for the character’s 90th anniversary. From Mickey to a little mermaid and Mini Maui, the enchantment of Disney animation is personal for this animator.

FRANK OZFRANK OZ

Creator. Director. Producer. Performer. Writer. Actor. Icon. Superlatives all that describe the one and only Frank Oz. As a respected director, Frank has helmed more than a dozen films, including co-directing The Dark Crystal (1982) with Disney Legend Jim Henson, The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984), Little Shop of Horrors (1986), Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988), Touchstone Pictures’ What About Bob? (1991), In & Out (1997), Bowfinger (1999), The Score (2001), Death at a Funeral (2007), Muppet Guys Talking (2017), and others, as well as the 2021 Hulu presentation of the long running Off- Broadway hit he also directed, Derek DelGaudio’s In & Of Itself. A four-time Emmy winner, Frank is the recipient of The Art Director’s Guild Contribution to Cinematic Imagery Award, The Comedy Awards’ Creative Achievement Award, The Saturn Lifetime Achievement Award, two George Foster Peabody Awards, three Gold Records, two Platinum Records, and a host of other accolades and honors. He originated and performed the characters of Grover, Bert, and Cookie Monster for Sesame Street, along with Miss Piggy, Fozzie, Sam Eagle, and Animal for The Muppet Show, performing in hundreds of television shows and specials with The Muppets—including the memorable Muppet*Vision 3D for Disney Parks. Frank also originated and performed the character of Yoda for George Lucas’ Star Wars galaxy, first in The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and followed by Return of the Jedi (1983), The Phantom Menace (1999), Attack of the Clones (2002), Revenge of the Sith (2005), The Last Jedi (2017), and The Rise of Skywalker (2019). He has acted in several live-action movies, from The Blues Brothers (1980) to Knives Out (2019), and has voiced characters in Disney and Pixar’s Monsters, Inc. (2001), Inside Out (2015), and Inside Out 2 (2024).

KELLY RIPAKELLY RIPA

Kelly Ripa is one of the most powerful voices in media, with a diverse body of work both on and off camera. With a career at ABC spanning over 30 years, Kelly has welcomed viewers with her sharp wit every morning as co-host and executive producer of the nationally syndicated show Live. Beginning her career in entertainment as an actress, Kelly has starred in numerous celebrated television series, appearing on such shows as the soap opera All My Children and the sitcom Hope & Faith. Kelly and her husband,

Mark Consuelos, ventured into the development side of entertainment when they began their production company, Milojo Productions. Milojo produces content across multiple platforms, producing the Emmy-nominated documentary The Streak for ESPN and the critically-acclaimed documentary Off The Rez for TLC. Kelly has earned numerous accolades over the years, including multiple Daytime Emmy Awards, the prestigious Excellence in Media Award from GLAAD and Glamour‘s Woman of the Year Award. She was also recognized by The Hollywood Reporter as part of the Women in Entertainment Power 100 list, as well as the publication’s 35 Most Powerful People in Media. In September 2022, Kelly added New York Times best-selling author to her resume, when her collection Live Wire: Long-Winded Short Stories was published. She recently launched the second season of her own podcast titled Let’s Talk Off Camera with Kelly Ripa. Kelly lives in New York City with Mark, and together the couple have three children.

JOE ROHDEJOE ROHDE

Retiring in 2021 as a portfolio creative executive with 40 years at Walt Disney Imagineering, Joe Rohde was the overall creative executive and supervising designer for Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, including later expansions such as Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain and Pandora – The World of Avatar. Joe’s other notable projects include The Adventurers Club (formerly a part of Pleasure Island at Walt Disney World); Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa in Ko Olina, Hawaiʻi, and Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! at Disney’s California Adventure Park. Joe grew up in Honolulu and the San Fernando Valley, creating art and theater sets, acting in school productions, and exploring film backlots with his cameraman father. He attended Occidental College, graduated with a major in studio art, and went to work as teacher, where at 25, he was recruited by Walt Disney Imagineering. His first assignment was as a model builder for the Mexico Pavilion at EPCOT. Joe’s big Imagineering break came with the development of a certain animal-focused theme park for the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park would prove to be a celebration of animals, a passionate argument for the coexistence of conservation and communities, and a recognition of the essential role that ecosystems play in our existence. Joe was instrumental in creating the Disney Conservation Fund, which has disbursed over $120 million in grants to projects worldwide. He is well known for his intensive focus on the philosophy of narrative placemaking and experiential storytelling. Joe now uses his art to raise funds for both international conservation and local community projects. In 2022 he received the Disney Conservation Fund’s first Conservation Legacy Award and has appeared on numerous documentaries about Imagineering.

JOHN WILLIAMSJOHN WILLIAMS

The unforgettable music of John Williams is the soundtrack of our lives. In a career spanning more than six decades, this most prolific of movie composers has created the music for more than 100 films including all nine Star Wars saga films and all five Indiana Jones films. Born and raised in New York, John moved to Los Angeles with his family in 1948. Venturing back to the East Coast to attend The Julliard School, he later returned to Los Angeles to commence his film career. Early in his career, John composed the music for more than 200 television films and numerous television series including Lost in Space for 20th Century Fox. John’s artistic partnership with director Steven Spielberg, now in its 50th year, led to an introduction to fellow Disney Legend George Lucas and what became the biggest film phenomenon of its time, Star Wars (1977).

John has received five Academy Awards and 54 Oscar nominations—most recently for Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (2023)—making him the Academy’s most- nominated living person and the second-most-nominated person in the history of the Oscars, a number second only to Walt Disney. He has also received seven British Academy Awards (BAFTA), 26 Grammys, four Golden Globes, and five Emmys, as well as the National Medal of Arts, the Kennedy Center Honors, and an honorary knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II.

Disney Legend honorees receive a two-foot-tall bronze Disney Legends sculpture that signifies the imagination, creativity, and magic they have brought to the company.

Disney Legends Award recipients will also participate in a handprint ceremony at the

end of the event, and their bronzed prints will be displayed in the Disney Legends Plaza at the company’s Burbank headquarters.

Including this year’s honorees, a total of 318 Disney Legends have been named. Past Disney Legends include Tim Allen, Dame Julie Andrews, Howard Ashman, Kristen Bell, Robert Downey Jr., Annette Funicello, Whoopi Goldberg, Sir Elton John, Dame Angela Lansbury, George Lucas, Steve Martin, Alan Menken, Hayley Mills, Fess Parker, Ellen Pompeo, Robin Roberts, Marty Sklar, Dick Van Dyke, Barbara Walters, Ming-Na Wen, Betty White, and Robin Williams, among many others.

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