Esmond Cardon Walker (January 9, 1916 – November 28, 2005), commonly known as E. Cardon Walker or Card Walker, was a top executive at Walt Disney Productions in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. He was born in Rexburg, Idaho.
Early life and career
Walker moved to Los Angeles, California, in 1934, where he attended UCLA. After graduation, he began his career at Disney as a mailroom clerk in 1938. Before long, he stepped up the ladder and found himself in the camera department and later became a unit manager for short subjects.
In 1941, Walker was forced to delay his Disney career to serve in the United States Navy during World War II. He was the flight control officer (flight deck officer) aboard the aircraft carrier USS Bunker Hill (CV-17) in the Pacific Theater from 1943-1945, surviving eight major battles. After the war, he returned to the Disney Studio. In 1956, he became vice president of advertising and sales before being elected to the board of directors in 1960.
Career with Disney
After Walt Disney died in 1966, Walker became executive vice president and chief operating officer. When Walt's brother Roy O. Disney died in 1971, Walker became company president, serving under chairman and CEO Donn Tatum. In November 1976 Walker took over chief executive officer duties from Tatum while retaining the responsibilities of president. Finally, in 1980 Walker became chairman of the Disney board upon Tatum's retirement. Walker himself retired as CEO three years later, in February 1983, but stayed on as chairman until May 1 to oversee the opening of Tokyo Disneyland in Japan.
As a top Disney executive, Walker played a major part in the early development of Walt Disney World in Florida. He also sought to expand Disney's presence to international territory. Epcot and Tokyo Disneyland both opened under Walker's leadership, and he presided over the dedications of both parks. Walker founded the Disney Channel in 1982.
Walker continued to serve as a consultant to the company until 1990 and was member of the board of directors until 2000, having served 50 continuous years on the Disney board. His contributions culminated in his induction into the Disney Legends in 1993.
Walker died at age 89 in La Cañada Flintridge, California.
|President of The Walt Disney Company|
Ron W. Miller
|CEO of The Walt Disney Company|
Ron W. Miller
|Chairman of The Walt Disney Company|