Rolly Crump, longtime Imagineer and one of the creative minds behind attractions at Walt Disney World, died in Carlsbad, California, on Sunday. He was 93.
Crump contributed to classic theme park attractions, including The Enchanted Tiki Room, Haunted Mansion and “it’s a small world,” at Disneyland and Magic Kingdom and other Disney attractions at the 1964 New York World’s Fair. He did early design work for Disney World before leaving the company to create projects at parks such as Busch Gardens, Circus World in Polk County and Knott’s Berry Farm in California.
He returned to Walt Disney Co. and designed Epcot’s Land and Wonders of Life pavilions. But he left again for additional non-Disney work before returning to the company in 1992 as executive designer, redesigning and refurbishing at Imagineering.
He retired from Disney in 1996, 44 years after starting as an animator at Walt Disney Studios. He moved to WED Enterprises — now known as Walt Disney Imagineering — in 1959.
Crump was selected as an official Disney Legend in 2004. His 2012 autobiography is titled “It’s Kind of a Cute Story.”
“Rolly’s whimsical work has been featured all over the world,” writer and producer Jeff Heimbuch wrote on social media Monday. He said Crump was his friend and mentor. Crump’s autobiography is credited with “as told to” Heimbuch.
“Whether it was his numerous contributions to the Walt Disney films and theme parks, his work for various pop culture luminaries (like Ernie Ball and Jacques Cousteau), or his own personal artwork, Rolly’s incredible style was uniquely his and instantly recognizable to many,” Heimbuch wrote.
“A lot of people say, ‘What was your favorite project?’” Crump said in “The Whimsical Imagineer,” a 2016 documentary. “They were all my favorite projects. The thing I love the most is a challenge. To be asked to do something you’ve never done before. And that’s about as exciting as you can get. Believe it or not, that’s where the imagination kicks in.”
Crump is survived by his wife, Marie Tocci; his children Christopher, Roxana, Theresa; and three grandchildren.
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