Legendary Disney Imagineer Marty Sklar dies at 83

Legendary Disney Imagineer Martin A. "Marty" Sklar passed away in his Hollywood Hills home on Thursday. He was 83 (Walt Disney Company)

Legendary Disney Imagineer Martin A. "Marty" Sklar died Thursday. He was 83. During his 54-year career, Sklar was instrumental in creating, enhancing and expanding Walt Disney's creative vision.

"Everything about Marty was legendary - his achievements, his spirit, his career," said Bob Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company. "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."

After starting as an intern under Walt himself, he quickly became indispensable - scripting speeches, marketing materials, and a film showcasing Walt's vision for Walt Disney World and Epcot. He also joined WED Enterprises, the predecessor to Walt Disney Imagineering, and he would later become the creative leader of Imagineering, leading the development of Disney theme parks and attractions all over the world for the next three decades. He retired in 2009 as Executive Vice President and Imagineering Ambassador.

For his contributions, Sklar was given the highest Parks and Resorts recognition - a window in his name on Disneyland's City Hall.

"Marty was the ultimate Disney Imagineer and Cast Member. From his days working as an intern with Walt to just two weeks ago engaging with fans at D23 Expo, Marty left an indelible mark on Disney Parks around the globe and on all of the guests who make memories every day with us," said Bob Chapek, Chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. "He was one of the few people that was fortunate to attend the opening of every single Disney park in the world, from Anaheim in 1955 to Shanghai just last year. We will dearly miss Marty's passion, skill and imaginative spark that inspired generations of Cast, Crew and Imagineers."

Bob Weis was one of those Imagineers. "Marty was one of Walt's most trusted advisors and helped turn his most ambitious dreams into reality. For us, it's hard to imagine a world without Marty, because Marty is synonymous with Imagineering," said Weis, President, Walt Disney Imagineering. "His influence can be seen around the world, in every Disney park, and in the creative and imaginative work of almost every professional in the themed entertainment industry."

He was also recognized with a number of other prestigious awards and accolades, including the Lifetime Achievement award from TEA (Themed Entertainment Association), induction into the Hall of Fame of IAAPA (International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions), and the prestigious Professional Achievement Award from UCLA.

Marty is survived by his wife of 60 years, Leah; son Howard and his wife, Katriina Koski-Sklar; grandchildren Gabriel and Hannah; daughter Leslie; and grandchildren Rachel and Jacob.

The Walt Disney Company is the parent company of Disney Imagineering and this station

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