Disney Legend Passes Away
Ralph, (Kwiatkowski) Kent, who designed the first adult Mickey Mouse watch in the 1960s and went on to be a design leader and instructor for Walt Disney Imagineering at Walt Disney World, died Monday at age 68.
Kent was named to the Walt Disney Co.ís "Disney Legends" hall of fame in 2004, the year he retired.
He first joined Disney in 1963 (after changing his name to Kent from Kwiatkowski,) and in 1965 designed the first limited-edition Mickey Mouse watch for adults, which Walt Disney presented to 25 of his top executives, according to the Legends Webpage
He arrived at Walt Disney World in 1971 as a designer and by the end of the 1970s he oversaw the Walt Disney Imagineering east coast staff support for Epcot and Tokyo Disneyland. In 1990 he joined the Disney Design Group as a corporate trainer, mentoring new artists and creating an extensive reference collection of character model sheets.
Disney officials were not available this morning to discuss Kent's career or his passing. Independent Disney author Lou Mongello, host of the WDW radio show podcast, called Kent "an incredible individual" whose legacy is assured, not just from his own designs, but from the next generation of designers he trained.
"Artists like Brian Blackmore and Alex Maher who studied under Ralph continue to carry on his legacy," Mongello said. "Iím sure he would be proud of the incredible work that they continue to do, and the joy they bring to so many of us."
Source: Orlando Sentinel
Re: Disney Legend Passes Away
I got the sad news just this morning. Ralph was a long-time friend of mine. I was hoping to see him again next month.
We spent many a fun night at "the Boo" (the now-gone Big Bamboo bar in Kissimmee) where Ralph was a fixture and given his own barstool at the bar.
About 8 years ago he made a visit out to Anaheim and I had the pleasure of spending the day with him at Disneyland...just him and I. We walked all over the Park...went on attractions...he shared stories...and we had dinner at Club 33 and that just thrilled him to no end. It was one of the most enjoyable days I've had in my life.
He suffered from diabetes, and a few years ago he lost a leg to it. But that didn't slow him down! What a great, great man (and great artist) that I will miss very much. I imagine him up there at the big Boo in the sky...yapping away with his best bar buddie, Van France...about the "old days."