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Walt Disney


5 December 1901 – 15 December 1966 (Aged 65)

Disney was an American entrepreneur and animation pioneer, who developed what is now one of the most famous companies in the world today.

Originally an illustrator, Disney moved from Chicago to California in his early twenties and started Disney Brothers Studios with his older brother, Roy.

Walt created the character of Mickey Mouse in 1928, who he voiced himself until 1947. His 1932 cartoon ‘Flowers and Trees’ won him the first of his 22 Academy Awards.

In 1937, after four years in production and running well over budget, Disney released ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’, which went to become the most successful film at the time.

This sparked a golden era for Disney’s animated films, which saw ‘Pinocchio’, ‘Bambi’, ‘Dumbo’, ‘Cinderella’, and ‘Fantasia’ released by 1950. These were later followed by ‘Mary Poppins’ in 1964.

Disney ventured into the theme park industry, opening Disneyland in Anaheim, California, in 1955.

Though five other Disney theme parks have been opened around the world, Disney only lived to see the original park being brought to life.

After being a heavy smoker for much of his life, Disney died from lung cancer at the age of 65.

Lenny Bruce


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13 October 1925 – 3 August 1966 (Aged 40)

Bruce was a renowned, outspoken American comedian.

His 1964 trial, and subsequent conviction, for obscenity, is seen as a landmark case for freedom of speech in the United States.

He was posthumously pardoned by New York Governor, George Pataki, in 2003.

Having suffered from drug addiction during his life, Bruce died from a morphine overdose at the age of 40.

His style of comedy opened the door for future generations and has seen him consistently voted one of the greatest comedians of all time.

Buster Keaton


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4 October 1895 – 1 February 1966 (Aged 70)

Buster Keaton was one of America’s most famous and celebrated actor-directors of the silent-film era, enjoying huge success throughout the 1920s.

His 1926 film, The General, is regarded as one of cinema’s greatest ever made.

The advent of ‘the talkies’, as well as his increased dependency on alcohol, saw Keaton’s professional and personal life fall apart.

However, following his third marriage in 1940, Keaton turned his life around and made something of a comeback, without ever reaching the heights of the twenties.

He died of lung cancer in 1966.

Keaton is now seen as one of the most influential and talented actors in movie history, with his directing talents equally celebrated.

Elizabeth Arden


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31 December 1884 – 18 October 1966 (Aged 81)

(Some argue her date of birth was 1878)

Born Florence Nightingale Graham, before changing her name, Arden was a Canadian-born American entrepreneur, who developed a cosmetics empire.

At the height of Arden’s success, her brand was one of the most recognizable in the world, which made her one of the wealthiest people in the world at the time.

It was not until after her death that her age was revealed publicly, playing into her marketing philosophy of creating timeless beauty.