E. Cardon "Card" Walker, who led The Walt Disney Co. for nearly a decade and a half following the death of co-founder Roy O. Disney, passed away at his La Canada, California home on Monday, Nov. 28, 2005, at the age of 89.
Walker rose through the ranks at Disney, starting in the mailroom in 1938 and eventually became evp/coo following the death of Walt Disney. Walker worked closely with Walt and Roy Disney on memorable projects, such as It's a Small World, Meet Mr. Lincoln, Pirates of the Caribbean, the Haunted Mansion, 101 DALMATIANS, THE JUNGLE BOOK, MARY POPPINS and the purchase and development of the 28,000 acres in Central Florida that became Walt Disney World.
In 1971, he was named president of the company, in 1976, he added the duties of ceo and, in 1980, he was elected chairman of the board. Under his leadership, the company expanded with such major projects as the development of EPCOT at Walt Disney World, Tokyo Disneyland and the creation of the Disney Channel in the then-nascent cable industry.
"I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Card Walker," said Robert Iger, president/ceo of The Walt Disney Co. "Card was instrumental in keeping Disney strong and growing in the critical years that followed the passing of founders Walt and Roy Disney. There is little question that, were it not for Card Walker's vision and leadership, Disney would not be what it is today."
"Card was a predecessor of mine as ceo and I was privileged to consult with him throughout much of my tenure at the company," said Michael D. Eisner, former ceo of The Walt Disney Co. "Thanks to his deep understanding of the company and its founders, talking to Card was the next best thing to talking to Walt himself. Card successfully steered this company through a challenging time of transition, establishing an incredibly strong base for success on which Disney continues to build."
Earlier in his career, Walker's duties included work in the camera and story departments as unit manager on short subjects, after which he moved into advertising and sales, rising to become the company's vp of marketing. In 1960, he was elected to Disney's board of directors and served on its three-man executive committee. He retired as ceo/chairman in 1983, but continued to serve as a consultant until 1990.
Among Walker's many awards and honors were Pioneer of the Year from the Foundation of Motion Picture Pioneers, the International Showmanship Award from the National Association of Theater Owners and the Alumnus of the Year Award from UCLA.
Walker was born Jan. 9, 1916 in Rexburg, Idaho and moved to Southern California in 1924. He died of congestive heart failure and is survived by Winnie, his wife of 59 years, as well as three children, Mignonne Walker Decker, Marnie Gaede and Cardon Walker, and five grandchildren, Katie, Matt, Dillon, Marcus and Miles.
Funeral services will be private. Donations can be made in lieu of flowers to the:
Motion Picture and Television Fund22212 Ventura Blvd. Suite 300Woodland Hills, CA 91364