Our hearts go out to the family, friends, and fans of Blaine Gibson—artist, Imagineer, and Disney Legend—who passed away today on July 5, 2015.
Born on February 11, 1918, in Rocky Ford, Colorado, Gibson joined The Walt Disney Studios in 1939, working on both character and effects animation in major feature-length films up through One Hundred and One Dalmatians.
After Walt saw an exhibition of Gibson’s sculpture work in 1954, the animator was reassigned to work on the Disneyland project. In 1961, Gibson joined WED Enterprises—now, Walt Disney Imagineering—as the head of the sculpture department. He would go on to sculpt hundreds of Audio-Animatronics in major Disneyland attractions, including Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, Pirates of the Caribbean, and every president up to President George W. Bush in the Hall of Presidents.
In 1993, Gibson was brought out of retirement to sculpt the famed “Partners” statue, now located at Disney Parks & Resorts all over the world. More recently, Gibson visited The Walt Disney Family Museum on December 5, 2009—Walt’s birthday—to participate in a panel as part of the “Memories of Walt: A Conversation with Legends” series. His talent, support, and friendship will be missed, but his legacy will always remain.