Disney Legend Blaine Gibson passed away July 5, 2015 at 97 years old. Even if you didn’t know him by name, you certainly knew him by his work.
According to Walt Disney’s Imagineering Legends, Blaine Gibson began working at The Walt Disney Studio in 1939 in hopes of becoming an animator. He worked as an in-betweener on Pinocchio, Fantasia, and Bambi followed by effects and character animation. While working as an animator, Blaine began sculpting as a hobby. Soon, with Walt Disney’s influence, his hobby turned into a career.
Blaine’s first sculptures for Disneyland included mermaids for the Submarine Voyage and new animals for the Jungle Cruise. However, Mr. Gibson is most widely known for his creation of Abraham Lincoln for the New York World’s Fair.
Other well known Blaine Gibson sculptures include characters for the Pirates of the Caribbean, ghosts for The Haunted Mansion, critters for Country Bear Jamboree, figures for the Hall of Presidents, and creations for the Future World pavilions in EPCOT.
Even though Blaine retired from the Walt Disney Company in 1983, he came back occasionally to work on special projects. Included in those projects is the Hall of Presidents sculptures of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush at the Magic Kingdom and the “Partners” sculpture of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse for Disneyland in 1993 and in Walt Disney World in 1995.
If you didn’t know his name, you couldn’t visit Disney World and not know his work. Lucky for Disney fans, Blaine’s legacy will live on for generations to come. Rest in peace, Mr. Gibson, and thank you.
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