Disney legend Alice Davis passed away at age 93.
Summary: Alice Estes Davis, 93, passed away at her Los Feliz home after spending a career designing some of Disney history’s most enduring costumes.
Alice Davis, a Disney legend, passed away.
After spending her entire life coming up with some of the most iconic costume designs in Disney history, Alice Estes Davis, 93, passed away at her Los Feliz home. The designer, who started her career creating women’s undergarments and lingerie, was honoured as a Disney Legend in 2004 for her noteworthy and significant contribution to The Walt Disney Company. Her most well-known creations are the costumes for the films Pirates of the Caribbean and It’s a Small World.
She also helped to animate Briar Rose, the lead female character of Sleeping Beauty. Marc Davis, an animator and Imagineer, was married to Alice Davis until his passing in 2000, earning her the title of “one of Disney’s original designing ladies.” As one of the renowned “Nine Old Men” of the firm, he was recognised as a Disney Legend in 1989. The names of the pair are currently visible on windows next to one another on Disneyland’s Main Street.
At the age of 93, Alice Davis passes away. Known as one of Disney’s first female designers, Marc Davis was an animator and Imagineer who she was married to until his passing in 2000.
In addition to receiving a scholarship to the Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles, Alice Davis, who was born in Escalon, California in 1929, also went to night classes to study animation. Marc was a teacher at the school, famed for training artists, and had previously worked on a number of Disney projects.
While working for the Beverly Vogue & Lingerie House, Marc asked Alice to create a costume for Helene Stanley to wear during a live-action shot in order to inspire his animation of Princess Aurora in 1959’s Sleeping Beauty.
Princess Aurora, SLEEPING BEAUTY, 1959, courtesy of the Everett Collection
Alice Davis previously told The Hollywood Reporter, “Marc wanted to test how the skirt worked in genuine dancing movements, and that was my first assignment at Disney.” She created the clothes for the 1960 live-action Disney film Toby Tyler, starring Kevin Corcoran, despite having minimal fashion design experience. Then, in 1963, Walt Disney personally engaged her to work on the 1964 New York World’s Fair’s It’s a Small World ride.
About 150 clothes for the boat journey were researched, designed, and carefully supervised by Alice Davis and art director Mary Blair. She also created manufacturing foundations, quality control refurbishing methods, and costuming protocols that established the benchmark for three-dimensional characters in upcoming Disney rides and shows.
Alice Davis created the designs for the costumes worn in 1965’s Pirates of the Caribbean using her husband’s original drawings of the Shiver-me-Timbers cast and crew. Two years later, when the attraction made its debut at Disneyland, guests were astounded by the animated characters and their painstakingly designed outfits. Later, she worked for General Electric on the attractions Flight to the Moon and Carousel of Progress.
Alice Davis created the designs for the costumes worn in 1965’s Pirates of the Caribbean using her husband’s original drawings of the Shiver-me-Timbers cast and crew.
Many Disney artists who followed in her footsteps were inspired by her career. According to Susan Goldberg, the art director of Fantasia/2000, “When I was a little kid, my parents took me to Walt Disney World, and I made them ride the tiny world attraction approximately 24 times because I loved it.” “Although I didn’t know Mary Blair or Alice Davis at the time, I always dreamed of being a costume designer. Because of Alice Davis, I work in animation.
Executives at The Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco commended Alice Davis after her passing as a compassionate and charitable person who participated in discussions, panels, and special events while also donating artwork and objects. She will always hold a particular place in our hearts because she was always Marc’s leading lady, they said. She is going to be sorely missed.