LOS ANGELES (CelebrityAccess) Dave Smith, 78, who created and maintained the Walt Disney Archives for 40 years, died Feb. 15 after a year of fragile health, according to those who knew him.
Smith was known for having all the answers regarding the massive company, whether if the question was if Prince Charming had a first name to where an obscure contract was located, according to the Los Angeles Times. The archives, located in Disney’s Burbank headquarters, have long been a mecca for animators, executives and Imagineers.
Smith catalogued and preserved company memorabilia and documentation since he began working at Disney in 1970, back when many studios were auctioning off items like ruby red slippers.
“That was the same year Dave came into Disney and said: ‘Look at this stuff. This is important,’” Jeff Kurtti, a veteran of Walt Disney Imagineering, told the Times.
“After some years behind the scenes at the studio, he became a somewhat more public figure with the rise of Disney fandom and the existence of regional and national conventions — gatherings where he was greeted as a kind of hero,” film critic Leonard Maltin added.
Although Smith was known as a literal know-it-all regarding Disney, he said in a recent interview that he didn’t know all the facts but always had the answers because he had files of the archives nearby.
Disney Chief Executive Robert Iger called Smith an “unsung hero” of the company’s history, adding, “We are indebted to him for building such an enduring, tangible connection to our past that continues to inspire our future.”