Tuesday, April 16, 2024

IAAPA inducts Marcelo Gutglas and Marie Tussaud into Hall of Fame

IAAPA, the global association for the attractions industry, today inducted two global attractions industry legends — Marcelo Gutglas and Marie Tussaud — into the IAAPA Hall of Fame. The IAAPA Hall of Fame honors individuals whose work and accomplishments have made significant and lasting contributions to the global attractions industry. These awards are the highest and most prestigious individual honors in the industry.

“We are honored to welcome Marcelo Gutglas and Marie Tussaud into the IAAPA Hall of Fame,” said Michael Collins, 2021 chair of the IAAPA Hall of Fame and Archives Committee and senior partner, Leisure Development Partners, LLP. “Marcelo Gutglas has been an advocate and ambassador for the attractions industry in Latin America for more than 50 years, and Marie Tussaud created an art form and an attraction that has entertained millions around the globe. Their contributions to our industry are significant and their impact will influence the industry for many years to come.”

Marcelo Gutglas, Playcenter Group, Sao Paulo, Brazil

Known by many as the father of the attractions industry in Latin America, Marcelo Gutglas has made an indelible mark during his 50-plus year career in the business. This electronics engineer and industry pioneer started his career in the mid-1960s by introducing a single, coin-operated jukebox in a bowling alley in Brazil. From that humble beginning, he expanded into the pinball business and eventually had 2,500 machines in entertainment venues and arcades throughout the country.

His passion for the attractions business grew, and in the mid-1970s, he developed Playcenter Amusement Park into the first new-generation amusement park in the region. Featuring innovative attractions, including the first large steel roller coaster and a flume ride, Playcenter was a successful venture for the young entrepreneur who became an icon in Brazil. He then went on to create the Playland family entertainment center (FEC) chain with more than 25 locations, introduced a traveling carnival to promote Playcenter, and was instrumental in the development of the modern Hopi Hari theme park, just outside Sao Paulo. He did all this while managing his businesses through difficult and ever-changing economic conditions in Brazil.

Gutglas is credited with introducing the amusement park industry to families in Brazil. Along the way, he educated government leaders and investors on the fundamentals of the attractions industry to gain their support. He introduced professional standards, inspired others to develop the industry and follow best practices from around the world and was the founder of two industry trade associations in Brazil, ADIBRA and SINDEPAT. He was also one of the founders and vice president of ALAP (Latin America Association of Amusement Parks). He was and still is an active member and volunteer with IAAPA, serving terms on the IAAPA Board of Directors, the executive/finance committee, the strategic planning committee, and the Latin America regional advisory committee. As a result of his contributions, the association awarded Gutglas the IAAPA Meritorious Service Award in 1999 and the IAAPA Lifetime Service Award in 2012.

Gutglas set the tone and paved the way for the development of the industry in Latin America. He is a respected leader, advocate, and ambassador for the global attractions industry.

Marie Tussaud (Anne-Marie Grosholtz), Madame Tussauds, London

Anne-Marie Grosholtz (also known as Marie Tussaud) was born in 1761. When she was 6 years old, Marie and her mother moved from France to the Switzerland home of Dr. Philippe Curtius, a physician and a skilled wax model maker. He combined his areas of expertise to use wax modeling to illustrate human anatomy, eventually fine-tuning his craft and making wax portraits of the celebrities of the day.

Tussaud bonded with Curtius and became his protégé. She showed remarkable talent for creating wax portraits and masks, and in 1777, at the age of 16, Tussaud created her first wax figure of the famous French writer, Voltaire. Tussaud refined her modeling and eventually created a collection of lifelike and incredibly detailed wax figures of celebrities and leaders. To showcase her work, she took her collection on the road as a touring attraction. After several years, she transformed the touring attraction into a permanent location in London.

Several generations of the Tussaud’s family and Merlin Entertainments have transformed what started as that single museum in London into the iconic and interactive Madame Tussauds attractions known around the world. More than 10 million guests have mingled and posed with lifelike heroes, music legends, sports celebrities, and world leaders in 24 Madame Tussauds locations that span the globe from New York and Shanghai to Amsterdam and Sydney.

Now, almost 250 years later, the art form and attraction created by Marie Tussaud continue to inspire and influence sculpting and model making in the attractions industry and entertain millions of people around the world.

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