Document details

Walt Disney Co. archivist Dave Smith, dies at 78
an 'unsung hero' who cataloged company secrets
Daniel Miller, Todd Martens

For almost 50 years, those within and without the Walt Disney Co. had a simple response when it came to almost any question regarding the history of the entertainment giant: “Ask Dave.” Whether seeking obscure ephemera, wondering whether Prince Charming has a real name or needing a long out-of-date contract, Dave Smith no doubt had the answer.

Smith, who created and maintained the Walt Disney Archives for 40 years, died Friday, the Walt Disney Co. said. While the company did not release an official cause of death, those who knew him said he had been in fragile health for much of the past year. He was 78.

A steward of the company’s vast repository of intellectual property, Smith cataloged the company’s secrets and debunked myths. The archives, housed at Disney’s Burbank headquarters, have long been essential for animators, executives and Imagineers in need of research help — or inspiration.

In an industry that’s notorious for neglecting its past, Smith stood out as perhaps the most respected, if unheralded, member of a small group of in-house studio historians. Smith is credited with helping Hollywood understand the cultural value of its past, starting at Disney in 1970 when rival studios were auctioning or dumping their histories.




Source type Magazine
Language en
Document type Feature
Media type text


Id 4163
Availability Free
Inserted 2019-02-24