Featured Attractions

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Disney Legend #17: Herb Ryman

Herb Ryman was born in Vernon, Illinois in 1910. Herb wanted to pursue a career in the arts, but his parents were against it, preferring that he become a doctor. After he came down with a horrific case of scarlet fever, his parents relented, telling him that he could major in art after he recovered. He did and headed off to California where he found work as an art director for MGM, working on such classic films as Wizard of Oz.

He came to the attention of Walt Disney, who lured him away to work on Fantasia and Dumbo. Mr. Ryman also worked on the South American package films Saludos Amigos and The Three Caballeros. He left Disney to return to MGM where he stayed until fate intervened. 

Walt Disney called him to work on a special weekend project- the original plans for DISNEYLAND. Over what became called "the lost weekend", Walt told Herb what he thought DISNEYLAND should look like and Herb drew it. After just one weekend, they had amazingly laid out the basic site plan for DISNEYLAND. Herb Ryman decided to stick with Disney this time and had a hand in designing just about every project at DISNEYLAND, Walt Disney World, Tokyo Disneyland and even the beginnings of Disneyland Paris up until his death in 1989 at the age of 79. 

Always mindful of how hard it was to convince his parents to let him pursue a career in the arts, Mr. Ryman established a scholarship foundation that continues funding arts scholarships to this day.