Disney Imagineer and one of the last connections with Walt Disney, Marty Sklar, passed away in his home in Hollywood Hills at the age of 83 on Thursday.
Sklar worked with Disney in a career that spanned 54 years. He worked closely with Walt Disney helping prepare his speeches and creating marketing products for Walt Disney World and Epcot. He began working at Disney in 1955 where he was recruited while in college to create The Disneyland News. The paper was created for the Disney’s Anaheim theme park, Disneyland. By 1956, he graduated from UCLA and worked full time for Disney.
He eventually became Disney’s top Imagineer working to create and develop theme parks for over 30 years. He was influential in the construction process of Tokyo Disneyland and Disneyland Paris. Marty Sklar was even one of the only people who had attended every single opening for all of Disney’s parks including Shanghai Disneyland which opened just last year.
Chairman and CEO of Walt Disney Bob Iger remembered Marty:
Everything about Marty was legendary — his achievements, his spirit, his career. 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.
And Marty was legendary. He was made a Disney Legend in 2001 for his contributions to the company. Marty retired from Disney as the executive vice president and Imagineering ambassador on July 17, 2009. It was the 54th Anniversary of Disneyland.
Marty had just appeared at Disney’s yearly conference D23 just a few weeks ago with Tony Baxter and John Stamos where he discussed over 60 years of Disney theme park design.
Marty Sklar’s wife of 60 years, Leah, his son Howard, his daughter, Leslie, and his grandchildren Gabriel, Hannah, Rachel, and Jacob survive the legendary Disney Imagineer.