Disney sculptor Blaine Gibson dies at 97

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Sculptor Blaine Gibson, who was behind some of Disney's most iconic statues, has died. He was 97. (Disney)

Sculptor Blaine Gibson, who was behind some of Disney's most iconic statues, has died. He was 97.

His work can be found all over Disney's theme parks, including the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, the Hall of Presidents at Disney World and the famed "Partners" statue of Walt Disney and Mickey on Disneyland's Main Street.

"He's looking up at Walt and Walt's hand. It just tells that nice little story in an inanimate statue," author David Koenig said of the "Partners" statue.

Disneyland's Sleeping Beauty Castle and Blaine Gibson's Partners statue are seen in this undated photo.



Koenig has written several books about the company from a behind-the scenes perspective. He says all of Gibson's large body of work not only told a story, it set the bar for Imagineers in the future.

"He was the guy. He did it so well and so perfectly, that he set the template for the rest to follow," Koenig said.

Even though Gibson retired in 1983, Disney still called on him to create special pieces, including "Partners."

Bob Iger, chairman and CEO of the Walt Disney Company released a statement on Gibson's death: "We are deeply saddened by the loss of such an incredibly talented artist and Disney Legend, yet we all are very fortunate that his amazing work will continue to live on in our animated films and theme parks."

In 1993, the company gave Gibson its highest honor of Disney Legend.

"What you love to do, suddenly you find yourself in the middle of doing that, becoming famous for it and making so many people happy with your work," Koenig said.

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