Orlando local media is reporting on a Massachusetts guest who died yesterday evening at the Orlando Regional Medical Center after being struck by a bus at Disney’s Port Orleans.
Harrison “Buzz” Price, the research economist who recommended Anaheim to Walt Disney as the location for Disneyland, then later recommended Orlando to Roy O. Disney as the location for Disney World, passed away Sunday, August 15, at the age of 89.
“Despite his failing health, he continued to demonstrate his trademark humor, cutting edge wit and enduring love for family and friends,” his son David Price said on behalf of his mother, Anne Shaw Price, and the Price family. “His legacy of laughter, wit, love, passion and commitment leaves its mark on each of us – family, friends and colleagues in the leisure and recreation industry he loved.”
Funeral arrangements will be conducted privately by the family.
“Buzz” Price was recognized as the pioneer in the field of theme parks, resort and leisure-recreation project feasibility almost from the day in 1953 that Walt and Roy O. Disney chose him “to determine the economic feasibility of the best location for a new project – Disneyland.” Price, an engineering graduate of California Institute of Technology, had joined Stanford Research Institute after receiving his Masters in Business Administration from Stanford University.
“I asked Walt if he had a bias about the location for his Magic Kingdom,” Price recalled years later. “‘Absolutely not!’ he said. ‘You tell me where the best location is.'” Price analyzed the potential sites in the Southern California area, ultimately focusing on Orange County after considering population trends, accessibility and climate factors.
They selected 160 acres of orange groves in Anaheim, just off the Santa Ana Freeway at Harbor Boulevard.
“We hit it right on the nose,” Price later recalled, “dead center. That was the perfect place for it.”
Disney D23 has reported that Ilene Woods, best known to Disney fans as the original voice of Cinderella, has passed away at the age of 81. No additional details have been provided at this time.
Woods was offered the opportunity to audition for Cinderella after she had recorded demos of songs from the film for songwriters Mack David and Jerry Livingston who had become friends with her through a music radio show she once hosted. After hearing the recordings, Walt Disney extended an invitation for Woods to audition for the film — she won the role, but never met Walt until after the film had been completed.
Eddie Carroll, the actor best known to Disney fans as the voice of Jiminy Cricket since 1973, has reportedly passed away at the age of 76.
The news comes from the International Jack Benny Fan Club which has no current additional information other than his death, although additional news is promised soon.
Carroll was also known for his impression of Jack Benny, which he performed on stage in his show Laughter in Bloom. The site currently lists all upcoming shows as postponed due to an injury Mr. Carroll sustained earlier in the year, but reports in the Jack Benny Fan Club forum have reported that he had recovered well so there is no indication as to what the injury was and whether his death is related to it.
The LA Times has reported that Roy Edward Disney, son of Roy Oliver Disney and nephew to Walter Elias Disney, born January 10, 1930, has died just a few weeks shy of what would have been his 80th birthday, presumably related to his cancer.
You can read the LA Times obituary for Roy here.
The official press release from The Walt Disney Company follows:
Roy Edward Disney, son of Disney Studios co-founder Roy O. Disney, and nephew of Walt Disney, passed away today (12/16/09) at Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian in Newport Beach, California, following a year-long battle with stomach cancer. He was 79 years old. Disney was a successful businessman, philanthropist, filmmaker, and award-winning sailor, who played a key role in the revitalization of The Walt Disney Company and Disney’s animation legacy. He was associated with the Company over a 56-year period, and from 1984 – 2003, served as vice chairman of the Company’s board of directors, and chairman of the Studio’s Animation Department. In recent years, he held the title of director emeritus and consultant for the Company.
As head of Disney Animation, Disney helped to guide the Studio to a new golden age of animation with an unprecedented string of artistic and box office successes that included “The Little Mermaid,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Aladdin,” and “The Lion King.” He personally executive produced “Fantasia/2000,” a sequel to the 1940 Disney classic, and served in a similar capacity on a number of recent animated shorts, including the 2004 Oscar®-nominated “Destino,” based on storyboards and original art by the iconic artist Salvador Dali. In the area of live-action films, Disney and his wife, Leslie DeMeuse Disney, most recently executive produced the 2008 feature documentary, “Morning Light,” which followed a group of young sailors as they competed in the grueling Transpac race from Los Angeles to Honolulu.