All the talk about “Saving Mr. Banks” got me thinking – what other movies have I seen in which Walt was portrayed by an actor? And the only one I could think of was the 1995 TV movie “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes: The Annette Funicello Story”. But I couldn't remember who the actor was. Turns out it was Len Cariou, who originated the role of Sweeney Todd on Broadway! Yes – Sweeney Todd as Walt Disney! My mind is totally blown. (Disney and Sondheim musicals are two of my biggest obsessions). Cariou's co-star in that production was Angela Lansbury, who (of course) had starred in Disney's Bedknobs and Broomsticks, and would later play the voice of Mrs. Potts in Beauty and the Beast. Furthermore, Cariou had previously starred in Sondheim's “A Little Night Music” opposite Glynis Johns, who played Mrs. Banks in Mary Poppins.
Anyhow, Cariou's portrayal seems more like my idea of Walt's voice and demeanor than Tom Hanks does in the trailer of “Saving Mr. Banks”, but I'll reserve final judgment until I actually see the movie later this year.
Cariou is not to be confused with George Hearn, who played Sweeney Todd in the 1982 video production, also opposite Lansbury (both are great though). Here are a couple clips of Cariou as Sweeney:
Sweeney Todd Original 1979 Broadway Musical Commercial - YouTube
3 Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street A Musical Thriller Act One clip0 clip0 1 clip0 - YouTube