Thursday, January 28, 2016

Mary Costa

Disney background painter and imagineer Frank Armitage died recently at the age of 91. I remember meeting him briefly once or twice when still working at Disney. He was soft-spoken, and like all of the old-timers had high standards and was judgmental for all the right reasons.
There were several reports in the media, most write ups focused on his contributions to Sleeping Beauty and his work for Imagineering. A few wonderful photos, taken during production of Sleeping Beauty, accompanied the tributes. I am re-posting them here.
Mary Costa is a living Legend in the truest sense of the word. First of all she defies nature by looking decades younger than her actual age. I have had the pleasure of spending time with her on several social occasions. She is as lovely as you might imagine, and as the voice of Aurora,  Mary exuberates a passion for life. For those of you who don't know, Mary has had a prodigious career as an internationally celebrated opera singer.
She talks about having to loose her southern accent for her role in Sleeping Beauty, and that she gets a kick out of the character of Charlette in The Princess and the Frog, since they are both Southern Belles.
Look at these fascinating photos, they take you back to the late 1950s at Disney in HD.

I like this illustration, which appeared on some of the film's posters, and was also used as a record cover for the movies's songs and score. 

The film's program from 1959. It includes most of the credits.

A pic from just a few years ago with friends at the Tam O 'Shanter, an LA  restaurant Walt Disney and staff used to patronize. Walt's table is still kept in the same place.
Mary, me, Kathryn Beaumont Levine, Richard  and Elisabeth Sherman and Alice Davis.
And yes, I was pinching myself, Disney Royalty all around.


  1. Backgrounds like that, where would they be? Does Disney have them displayed in a museum or buried in an archive? Are they in private collections?

  2. I know - that wall with all of the backgrounds is just amazing.

    Hallo Andreas, ich habe heute einen super Disneyschatz bekommen und muss dir meinen Stolz posten. :-) Sammelt man als Zeichner daheim wirklich auch 'pencil test-Streifen'? Liebe Grüße nach L.A. Christian demnächst wahrscheinlich wieder ein TV-namedropping....

  4. Out of interest, do you intend to do a post on Dick Huemer in the near future or have any of his animation work at Disney in the 30s? His work is wonderfully fluid and fun to watch!