I am sad to tell everyone that Disney Legend, and head archivist for 42 years, Dave Smith, has passed away today at the age of 78.
Dave was a great guy and was always willing to talk to fans. He ran a column called “Ask Dave” for a long time. He also wrote many books like Disney A to Z, Disney: The First 100 Years, The Quotable Walt Disney, Disney Trivia from the Vault, and The Ultimate Disney Trivia Books 1, 2, 3, and 4.
He was always willing to answer my questions when I was writing my second book and even added a copy of my 1st edition to the Disney archives for me. The last time I spoke with Dave I was asking him about the alligators that used to be in a pen outside the Jungle Cruise. He verified for me that there were gators at one point because he had seen the video footage. Thank you, Dave.
Dave started the archives department for Disney when he was hired in 1970. Until that point, Walt’s office went untouched since his death four years prior. Dave’s first job was to document and catalog everything in Walt’s office.
When Disney released a trivia game in the 80s, one of the questions was “Who was the live-action reference model for Tinker Bell.” The answer was Marilyn Monroe. But that wasn’t right. Margaret Kerry was the model for Tinker Bell. Margaret’s kids contacted the archives department and spoke to Dave about their mother being the model for Tink. Dave spoke to Marc Davis, the animator of Tinker Bell and verified the story. The rest is history.
Dave Smith became a Disney Legend in 2007.
He will be greatly missed.
If anyone wants to get a copy of one of Dave’s Disney books, just click HERE.
An interview about the beginning of the Disney Archives Department.
If you would like to get a copy of my book with over 3,700 Disneyland and Disney Movie fun facts in it, just visit my website www.DisneyGuy.org