Death of the founder of the Walt Disney Archives, Dave Smith, at the age of 78 – Variety



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Walt Disney Archives founder Dave Smith is a historian who has spent 40 years cataloging and preserving the company's heritage of entertainment and innovation. He died Friday in Burbank, California. He was 78 years old.

Smith was chief archivist of Disney from 1970 to 2010. He was named Disney legend in 2007 and served as a consultant for the company after his retirement.

"He was the unsung hero of Disney's story.As our first archivist, he spent 40 years saving countless documents and artifacts from the darkness." Disney's general manager, Bob Iger. "Dave was a true Disney legend and we are indebted to him for creating such a durable and lasting connection with our past, which continues to inspire our future."

Smith was hired in 1970 by Walt Disney's brother, Roy O. Disney. His first job was to list every element of the Walt Disney executive suite at Burbank Studio, a space left untouched after Walt Disney's death in December 1966. Smith's work allowed the company to recreate Walt's office for an installation. built in 2015 to inspire Disney's contemporary work force.

Smith was a prolific author of books on Walt Disney Co., including the official "Disney A to Z" encyclopedia. Other titles include "Disney: The First 100 Years", "The Quotable Walt Disney", "Disney Trivia from the Vault" and four volumes of "The Ultimate Disney Trivia Books".

Born and raised in Pasadena, Smith earned a B.A. in History and Master of Library Science from the University of California at Berkeley. Before joining Disney, he worked at the UCLA Research Library and the Huntington Library in San Marino, California. He also did an internship at the Library of Congress.

From 1980 to 2001, Smith was executive director of the Manuscript Society.

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