Eleven New Disney Legends to Be Honored During D23 Expo 2019 in Anaheim on August 23

Robert Downey Jr., Bette Midler, and Other Remarkable Talents to be
Honored at a Special Award Ceremony Hosted by Disney Chairman and CEO
Bob Iger

BURBANK, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Robert Downey Jr. and Bette Midler, along with such luminaries as Wing
Chao, Jon Favreau, James Earl Jones, Kenny Ortega, Barnette Ricci, Robin
Roberts, Diane Sawyer, Ming-Na Wen, and Hans Zimmer, will be honored as
Disney Legends during D23 Expo 2019 for their remarkable contributions
to the Disney legacy. Hosted by Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger, the
Disney Legends Awards ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. on Friday, August
23, in Hall D23 of the Anaheim Convention Center.

“The Disney Legends Award is the highest honor we can bestow; it’s a
recognition of talent, a celebration of achievement, and an expression
of profound gratitude to the remarkable men and women who have made an
indelible mark on our company and our creative legacy,” said Iger,
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company. “This
year’s honorees have earned a place in our hearts and our history for
their significant contributions in film, television, and our theme parks
around the world.”

The Disney Legends Awards program is a 32-year tradition of The Walt
Disney Company, and the first Disney Legend was Fred MacMurray (The
Shaggy Dog
, The Absent-Minded Professor, The Happiest
), who was honored in 1987. The award ceremony is just
one of the dozens of spectacular events Disney fans can enjoy during the
three-day D23 Expo.

The 2019 Disney Legends Award honorees (listed alphabetically) are:

WING CHAO For 37 years at Disney, Wing T. Chao played a vital
role in designing and developing exceptional and inspirational projects,
worth more than $12 billion, at Disney parks and resorts worldwide. Wing
served as vice chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts for Asia
Pacific Development as well as executive vice president of Walt Disney
Imagineering, where he oversaw master planning, architecture, and
design. Wing directed development teams consisting of Disney Imagineers
and many of the world’s most renowned architects and designers. He also
developed and built projects, including resort hotels, parks, cruise
ships, entertainment venues, water attractions, convention and
exhibition centers, sports stadiums, restaurants, retail spaces,
recreational complexes, office spaces, and two new-town communities, at
The Walt Disney Company’s properties in California, Florida, Hawai‘i,
Tokyo, Paris, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and other locations worldwide.

ROBERT DOWNEY JR. is a two-time Academy Award® nominee
and Golden Globe® winner who has appeared in more than 80
films. Considered one of the industry’s most talented and respected
actors, Robert has embraced both dramatic and comedic roles, including
his Disney debut in the 2006 remake of The Shaggy Dog. After
numerous standout performances, Robert then went on to help launch
Marvel Studios with his celebrated performance as Tony Stark as Iron
Man. His role has spearheaded the iconic blockbuster franchises Iron Man
and Avengers, for which he’s starred in three Iron Man films, The
Incredible Hulk
 (2008), Captain America: Civil War (2016),
and Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017); and four Avengers films,
including the most recent, Avengers: Endgame (2019), which
shattered box office records and became the largest-ever film debut,
bringing in $1.2 billion worldwide in its opening weekend. Robert will
next star in the title role in 2020’s The Voyage of Doctor
 and is in pre-production on the third installment of the
successful Sherlock Holmes franchise.

JON FAVREAU started his career with appearances in film and
television and has since become one of Hollywood’s most successful
producers and directors. Jon’s first roles included appearances on TV
shows such as Seinfeld and Friends, but his big break came
with the Miramax indie film Swingers (1996), for which he wrote
the screenplay, starred, and co-produced. His directing credits include Iron
(2008), Iron Man 2 (2010), the live-action remake of The
Jungle Book
(2016), and this year’s reimagining of The Lion King.
Jon also made appearances in several Marvel Cinematic Universe films as
Tony Stark’s loyal bodyguard, Happy Hogan. As an executive producer for
Marvel Studios, Jon holds credits on such films as Iron Man
(2008), Iron Man 2 (2010), Iron Man 3 (2013), Marvel’s
The Avengers
(2012), Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), and Avengers:
Infinity War
(2018). He has also voiced characters for Disney
television shows and feature films, including Hercules (TV,
1999), Buzz Lightyear of Star Command (TV, 2000), G-Force
(2009), Star Wars: The Clone Wars (TV, 2010–13), and Solo: A
Star Wars Story
(2018). Jon is writing and executive producing the
live-action Star Wars series The Mandalorian for Disney+,
which will premiere this November.

JAMES EARL JONES started his acting career with television and
film roles, including appearances in As the World Turns (1966)
and Dr. Strangelove (1964). But the Oscar®, Emmy®,
and Tony® Award-winning actor is well known for his iconic
voice acting, beginning with the role of Darth Vader in Star Wars: A
New Hope
(1977). This villainous vocal performance was reprised in
subsequent Star Wars films, including most recently in Rogue
One: A Star Wars Story
(2016) and TV shows like Star Wars Rebels
(2014–18). His voice can also be heard in Disney Parks around the globe,
including recurring vocal performances as Darth Vader for Star Tours:
The Adventures Continue
. Other Disney credits include ABC’s Recess
in 1998 as the voice of Santa Claus, narrator for the Disneynature film Earth
(2009), segment host for Fantasia/2000 (2000), and as the
celebrity narrator for the Candlelight Ceremony at Disneyland. Audiences
also recognize the actor’s basso profundo as that of Mufasa in The
Lion King
(1994), a role James Earl would return to in The Lion
King 2: Simba’s Pride
(1998), The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar
(2015), and this summer’s reimagining of The Lion King.

BETTE MIDLER When the Disney studio set out to expand the breadth
of its film production with Touchstone Pictures, it was Emmy, Grammy®,
Golden Globe, and Tony winner Bette Midler who helped lead the way to
box office success for the new division. She appeared in a string of hit
comedies, including Down and Out in Beverly Hills (1986), Ruthless
(1986), Outrageous Fortune (1987), and Big Business
(1988). Touchstone’s 1988 drama Beaches not only proved to be a
smash with audiences, but it also included Bette’s platinum-selling
rendition of “Wind Beneath My Wings.” Other Disney films followed,
including Stella (1990) and Scenes from a Mall (1991), as
well as a memorable vocal performance as the spoiled poodle Georgette in Oliver
& Company
(1988). Bette is well known to Disney audiences for
her role as the witchy Winifred in the perennial Halloween classic Hocus
(1993). She also starred in The Lottery (1989), a short
film produced for the Disney-MGM Studios Theme Park (now Disney’s
Hollywood Studios) in Florida for guests of the park’s Backstage
Studio Tour

KENNY ORTEGA is a multi-award-winning director, choreographer,
and producer. His first work with Disney was choreographing the TV
special Disney’s Totally Minnie (1988), followed by Mickey’s
60th Birthday
 the same year, and he would go on to direct three
episodes of Touchstone Television’s Hull High in 1990. In
1992, Kenny directed his first feature film, the beloved Disney musical Newsies,
which was followed, in 1993, by the Halloween favorite Hocus
. In 2006, he helmed the Disney Channel smash hit High
School Musical
, and the success of the first film would bring him
back to direct—and choreograph—the sequels High School Musical 2 (2007)
and High School Musical 3: Senior Year (2008). Kenny also
produced and staged the High School Musical: The Concert tour,
as well as the Miley Cyrus and Jonas Brothers Best
of Both Worlds Tour
. His other Disney credits include directing the
2014 short The Making of FrozenThe Cheetah Girls 2 (2006),
and, most recently, the international phenomenon Descendants (2015), Descendants
(2017), and Descendants 3, which will be released
this summer.

BARNETTE RICCI started her career with The Walt Disney Company as
a choreographer at Disneyland. In the late 1960s, Barnette created and
directed Kids of the Kingdom before going on to choreograph and
direct many parades, including Christmas parades, America on Parade,
and the Main Street Electrical Parade. She worked on the grand
openings of Walt Disney World, EPCOT Center, and Tokyo Disneyland and
directed popular stage shows such as Golden Horseshoe Revue at
Disneyland and the Diamond Horseshoe Revue in the Magic Kingdom
at Walt Disney WorldResort. Perhaps her biggest project to
date is the creation of Fantasmic! Debuting at Disneyland in
1992, the production combines state-of-the-art special effects with live
performers along the Rivers of America. The show continues a successful
run at Disneyland, Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World, and
now Tokyo DisneySea. Following Fantasmic!, Barnette moved to The
Walt Disney Studios as the vice president/show director of Special
Events. After more than 40 years with The Walt Disney Company, Barnette
retired in 2013.

ROBIN ROBERTS In 1990, Robin joined ESPN and would quickly become
a frequent contributor to the network’s programming. In her 15 years at
ESPN, she contributed to NFL Primetime and hosted SportsCenter
and In the Game with Robin Roberts. Robin began making
appearances on ABC’s Good Morning America (GMA) in 1995,
and in 2005 left ESPN to join the show full-time as co-anchor. Since
joining GMA, the show has won four Emmys for Outstanding Morning
Program. For ABC, Robin has hosted In the Spotlight with Robin
Roberts: All Access Nashville
, as well as ABC’s red carpet coverage
of the Academy Awards, and has created original broadcast and digital
programming for the network through her production company, Rock’n Robin
Productions. In 2007, Hyperion publishing released Robin’s first book, From
the Heart: Seven Rules to Live By
. Among Robin’s many awards are the
Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism, membership in the
Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame, and being named one of Glamour‘s
Women of the Year.

DIANE SAWYER is an ABC News anchor, tackling some of the biggest
issues of our time with original reporting, primetime specials,
long-form interviews, and in-depth investigations. One of the most
respected journalists in the world, she has traveled the globe
delivering breaking news reports, and has conducted interviews with
almost every major newsmaker of our time. Her primetime documentaries
have won critical acclaim for shedding light on difficult and previously
under-reported topics, including her reporting on the realities of
poverty in America. Diane’s reporting has been recognized with numerous
awards, including duPonts; Emmys; Peabodys; the grand prize of the
premier Investigative Reporters and Editors Association; an IRTS
Lifetime Achievement Award; and the USC Distinguished Achievement in
Journalism Award. In 1997 she was inducted into the Television Academy
Hall of Fame. After more than a decade in television news, Sawyer joined
ABC News in February 1989 as co-anchor of Primetime. She was
named co-anchor of Good Morning America in January 1999, and held
the post until taking over the World News anchor chair in
December 2009.

MING-NA WEN can currently be found saving the day as Agent
Melinda May, aka “The Cavalry,” on the ABC series Marvel’s Agents
of S.H.I.E.L.D
. Ming-Na is also known for her seven years playing
Jing-Mei Chen on ER. She found success on the big screen when she
appeared in the acclaimed Hollywood Pictures adaptation of Amy Tan’s The
Joy Luck Club
. Five years later, she would find animation
immortality as the title star of the Disney classic Mulan, a
role for which she would receive an Annie Award. Ming-Na returned to the
role of heroic Fa Mulan in a slew of projects, including an animated
sequel, video games Kingdom Hearts II and Disney
, on television’s House of Mouse and Sofia
the First
, and in the Walt Disney Animation Studios film Ralph
Breaks the Internet
 (2018). Ming-Na has been well known
to audiences for her television projects, including her voice work in
Disney Channel’s Phineas and Ferb, Disney XD’s Guardians
of the Galaxy
 and Milo Murphy’s Law, the six-part
digital short Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors, and a
recurring role in ABC’s Fresh Off the Boat.

HANS ZIMMER has scored more than 160 projects which, combined,
have grossed more than $28 billion worldwide. Hans has been honored with
an Academy Award®, two Golden Globes, three Grammys, an
American Music Award, and a Tony Award. In addition to his long list of
credits, including notable projects such as Gladiator and The
Dark Knight 
trilogy, Hans has had a great history with The Walt
Disney Company. His early work for them includes additional music for White
 (1991) and co-writing music for Cool Runnings (1993).
His groundbreaking, Academy Award-winning instrumental score for The
Lion King
 (1994) was followed by many memorable projects, including Crimson
 (1995), Muppet Treasure Island (1996), The
 (1996), Pearl Harbor (2001), King
(2004), and Iron Man (2008). Hans is the
guiding force behind the music of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise,
serving in various composing, editing, and producing capacities for The
Curse of the Black Pearl
 (2003), Dead Man’s Chest (2006), At
World’s End
 (2007), and On Stranger Tides (2011).
Hans composed the music for this summer’s reimagining of The
Lion King

Honorees receive a two-foot-tall bronze Disney Legends sculpture that
signifies the imagination, creativity, and magic they have brought to
the Company. Disney Legends Award recipients will also participate in a
handprint ceremony at the end of the event, and their bronzed prints
will be displayed in the Disney Legends Plaza at the Company’s Burbank

Admission to the ceremony will be on a first-come, first-served basis
and is included in the price of a ticket to D23 Expo 2019.

Including this year’s honorees, a total of 289 Disney Legends have been
named. Past Disney Legends include Tim Allen, Julie Andrews, Beatrice
Arthur, Howard Ashman, Annette Funicello, Whoopi Goldberg, Peter
Jennings, Sir Elton John, Angela Lansbury, George Lucas, Steve Martin,
Alan Menken, Hayley Mills, Fess Parker, Regis Philbin, Marty Sklar, Dick
Van Dyke, Barbara Walters, Betty White, and Robin Williams. Beginning
with the inaugural D23 Expo in 2009, thousands of Disney fans have been
able to enjoy the Disney Legends Awards ceremony live.

Tickets for D23 Expo 2019 are available for $89 for one-day adult
admission and $69 for children 3–9. Gold Members of D23: The Official
Disney Fan Club can purchase tickets for $77 for a one-day adult
admission and $59 for children 3–9. For more information on tickets and
D23 Expo 2019, visit D23Expo.com.

About D23 Expo 2019

D23 Expo—The Ultimate Disney Fan Event—brings together all the worlds of
Disney under one roof for three packed days of presentations, pavilions,
experiences, concerts, sneak peeks, shopping, and more. The event
provides fans with unprecedented access to Disney films, television,
games, theme parks, and celebrities. For the latest D23 Expo 2019 news,
visit D23expo.com.
Presentations, talent, and schedule subject to change. To join the D23
Expo conversation, be sure to follow DisneyD23 on Twitter, Facebook,
Instagram, and YouTube, and use the hashtag #D23Expo.

About D23

The name “D23” pays homage to the exciting journey that began in 1923
when Walt Disney opened his first studio in Hollywood. D23 is the first
official club for fans in Disney’s 90-plus-year history. It gives its
members a greater connection to the entire world of Disney by placing
them in the middle of the magic through its quarterly publication, Disney
; a rich website at D23.com
with members-only content; member-exclusive discounts; and special
events for D23 Members throughout the year.

Fans can join D23 at Gold Membership ($99.99), Gold Family Membership
($129.99), and General Membership (complimentary) levels at D23.com.
To keep up with all the latest D23 news and events, follow DisneyD23 on
Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

NOT FOR PRINT: For images, press releases, and the official media
credential application, please visit D23ExpoPress.com.


Jeffrey Epstein
The Walt Disney Company
(818) 560-8125

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