Meet The Eleven New Disney Legends Being Honored At D23 Expo 2019!
This August will be my third time attending the D23 Expo and I am already in fashion planning mode. It is seriously something I look forward to the second the one I am attending is over. Two years is a long wait! I am super excited to see the eleven new Disney Legends being honored at D23 Expo 2019 on August 23rd. Robert Downey Jr. and Bette Midler, along with such luminaries as Wing Chao, Jon Favreau, James Earl Jones, Kenny Ortega, Barnette Ricci, Robin Roberts, Diane Sawyer, Ming-Na Wen, and Hans Zimmer, will be honored as Disney Legends during D23 Expo 2019 for their extraordinary contributions to the Disney legacy. Hosted by Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger, the Disney Legends Awards ceremony will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, August 23, in Hall D23 of the Anaheim Convention Center. “The Disney Legends Award is the highest honor we can bestow; it’s a recognition of talent, a celebration of achievement, and an expression of profound gratitude to the remarkable men and women who have made an indelible mark on our company and our creative legacy,” said Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company. “This year’s honorees have earned a place in our hearts and our history for their significant contributions in film, television, and our theme parks around the world.” The Disney Legends Awards program is a 32-year tradition of The Walt Disney Company, and the first Disney Legend was Fred MacMurray (The Shaggy Dog, The Absent-Minded Professor, The Happiest Millionaire), who was honored in 1987. The award ceremony is just one of the dozens of spectacular events Disney fans can enjoy during the three-day D23 Expo. I was lucky enough to meet a Disney Legend, Linda Larkin, at a recent D23 event! The 2019 Disney Legends Award honorees (listed alphabetically) are: WING CHAO For 37 years at Disney, Wing T. Chao played a vital role in designing and developing exceptional and inspirational projects, worth more than $12 billion, at Disney parks and resorts worldwide. Wing served as vice chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts for Asia Pacific Development as well as executive vice president of Walt Disney Imagineering, where he oversaw master planning, architecture, and design. Wing directed development teams consisting of Disney Imagineers and many of the world’s most renowned architects and designers. He also developed and built projects, including resort hotels, parks, cruise ships, entertainment venues, water attractions, convention and exhibition centers, sports stadiums, restaurants, retail spaces, recreational complexes, office spaces, and two new-town communities, at The Walt Disney Company’s properties in California, Florida, Hawai‘i, Tokyo, Paris, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and other locations worldwide. ROBERT DOWNEY JR. is a two-time Academy Award® nominee and Golden Globe® winner who has appeared in more than 80 films. Considered one of the industry’s most talented and respected actors, Robert has embraced both dramatic and comedic roles, including his Disney debut in the 2006 remake of The Shaggy Dog. After numerous standout performances, Robert then went on to help launch Marvel Studios with his celebrated performance as Tony Stark as Iron Man. His role has spearheaded the iconic blockbuster franchises Iron Man and Avengers, for which he’s starred in three Iron Man films, The Incredible Hulk (2008), Captain America: Civil War (2016), and Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017); and four Avengers films, including the most recent, Avengers: Endgame (2019), which shattered box office records and became the largest-ever film debut, bringing in $1.2 billion worldwide in its opening weekend. Robert will next star in the title role in 2020’s The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle and is in pre-production on the third installment of the successful Sherlock Holmes franchise. JON FAVREAU started his career with appearances in film and television and has since become one of Hollywood’s most successful producers and directors. Jon’s first roles included appearances on TV shows such as Seinfeld and Friends, but his big break came with the Miramax indie film Swingers (1996), for which he wrote the screenplay, starred, and co-produced. His directing credits include Iron Man (2008), Iron Man 2 (2010), the live-action remake of The Jungle Book (2016), and this year’s reimagining of The Lion King. Jon also made appearances in several Marvel Cinematic Universe films as Tony Stark’s loyal bodyguard, Happy Hogan. As an executive producer for Marvel Studios, John holds credits on such films as Iron Man (2008), Iron Man 2 (2010), Iron Man 3 (2013), Marvel’s The Avengers (2012), Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), and Avengers: Infinity War (2018). He has also voiced characters for Disney television shows and feature films, including Hercules (TV, 1999), Buzz Lightyear of Star Command (TV, 2000), G-Force (2009), Star Wars: The Clone Wars (TV, 2010–13), and Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018). Jon is writing and executive producing the live-action Star Wars series The Mandalorian for Disney+, which will premiere this November. JAMES EARL JONES started his acting career with television and film roles, including appearances in As the World Turns (1966) and Dr. Strangelove(1964). But the Oscar®, Emmy®, and Tony® Award-winning actor is well known for his iconic voice acting, beginning with the role of Darth Vader in Star Wars: A New Hope (1977). This villainous vocal performance was reprised in subsequent Star Wars films, including most recently in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) and TV shows like Star Wars Rebels (2014–18). His voice can also be heard in Disney Parks around the globe, including recurring vocal performances as Darth Vader for Star Tours: The Adventures Continue. Other Disney credits include ABC’s Recess in 1998 as the voice of Santa Claus, narrator for the Disneynature film Earth (2009), segment host for Fantasia/2000(2000), and as the celebrity narrator for the Candlelight Ceremony at Disneyland. Audiences also recognize the actor’s basso profundo as that of Mufasa in The Lion King (1994), a role James Earl would return to in The Lion King 2: Simba's Pride (1998), The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar (2015), and this summer’s reimagining of The Lion King. BETTE MIDLER When the Disney studio set out to expand the breadth of its film production with Touchstone Pictures, it was Emmy, Grammy®, Golden Globe, and Tony winner Bette Midler who helped lead the way to box office success for the new division. She appeared in a string of hit comedies, including Down and Out in Beverly Hills (1986), Ruthless People (1986), Outrageous Fortune (1987), and Big Business (1988). Touchstone’s 1988 drama Beaches not only proved to be a smash with audiences, but it also included Bette’s platinum-selling rendition of “Wind Beneath My Wings.” Other Disney films followed, including Stella (1990) and Scenes from a Mall (1991), as well as a memorable vocal performance as the spoiled poodle Georgette in Oliver & Company (1988). Bette is well known to Disney audiences for her role as the witchy Winifred in the perennial Halloween classic Hocus Pocus (1993). She also starred in The Lottery (1989), a short film produced for the Disney-MGM Studios Theme Park (now Disney’s Hollywood Studios) in Florida for guests of the park’s Backstage Studio Tour. KENNY ORTEGA is a multi-award-winning director, choreographer, and producer. His first work with Disney was choreographing the TV special Disney’s Totally Minnie (1988), followed by Mickey’s 60th Birthday the same year, and he would go on to direct three episodes of Touchstone Television’s Hull High in 1990. In 1992, Kenny directed his first feature film, the beloved Disney musical Newsies, which was followed, in 1993, by the Halloween favorite Hocus Pocus. In 2006, he helmed the Disney Channel smash hit High School Musical, and the success of the first film would bring him back to direct—and choreograph—the sequels High School Musical 2 (2007) and High School Musical 3: Senior Year (2008). Kenny also produced and staged the High School Musical: The Concert tour, as well as the Miley Cyrus and Jonas Brothers Best of Both Worlds Tour. His other Disney credits include directing the 2014 short The Making of Frozen, The Cheetah Girls 2 (2006), and, most recently, the international phenomenon Descendants (2015),