The legendary Disney Imagineer Martin A. “Marty” Sklar sadly passed away in his Hollywood Hills home on Thursday, July 27, 2017. He was 83. Marty worked closely with Walt Disney in his 54-year illustrious career and was “instrumental in creating, enhancing and expanding Disney’s creative vision.” Marty was honored with the Disney Legend award back in 2001 and he is most famously recognized and admired by fans around the world for his work in bringing Disney’s theme parks to life.
“Everything about Marty was legendary – his achievements, his spirit, his career,” said Bob Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company. “He embodied the very best of Disney, from his bold originality to his joyful optimism and relentless drive for excellence. He was also a powerful connection to Walt himself. No one was more passionate about Disney than Marty and we’ll miss his enthusiasm, his grace, and his indomitable spirit.”
Marty began his work for Disney when he was selected to produce The Disneyland News for Walt’s new theme park in 1955. He joined Disney full time in 1956 once he graduated and went on to “serve as Walt’s right-hand man—scripting speeches, marketing materials, and a film showcasing Walt’s vision for Walt Disney World and Epcot.” He later joined WED Enterprises where he became the creative leader of Imagineering for the next three decades. “He retired as Executive Vice President and Imagineering Ambassador on July 17, 2009, Disneyland’s 54th birthday. Disney marked the occasion by paying tribute to Marty with the highest Parks and Resorts recognition, dedicating a window in his name on Disneyland’s City Hall.”
“Marty was the ultimate Disney Imagineer and Cast Member. From his days working as an intern with Walt to just two weeks ago engaging with fans at D23 Expo, Marty left an indelible mark on Disney Parks around the globe and on all of the guests who make memories every day with us,” said Bob Chapek, Chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. “He was one of the few people that was fortunate to attend the opening of every single Disney park in the world, from Anaheim in 1955 to Shanghai just last year. We will dearly miss Marty’s passion, skill and imaginative spark that inspired generations of Cast, Crew and Imagineers.”
Bob Weis was one of those Imagineers. “Marty was one of Walt’s most trusted advisors and helped turn his most ambitious dreams into reality. For us, it’s hard to imagine a world without Marty, because Marty is synonymous with Imagineering,” said Weis, President, Walt Disney Imagineering. “His influence can be seen around the world, in every Disney park, and in the creative and imaginative work of almost every professional in the themed entertainment industry.”
Marty wrote several books about his adventures at Disney including “Dream It! Do It!: My Half-Century Creating Disney’s Magic Kingdoms” (2013), and most recently, “One Little Spark!: Mickey’s Ten Commandments and The Road to Imagineering” (2015).
Marty is survived by his wife Leah; son Howard and his wife, Katriina Koski-Sklar; grandchildren Gabriel and Hannah; daughter Leslie; and grandchildren Rachel and Jacob.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations be made in Marty’s name to Ryman Arts, a non-profit foundation who teaches “traditional” drawing and painting skills to young artists. Donations can be made at www.rymanarts.org.
News and Feature Photo Source: Disney Parks Blog