Disney Legend Rolly Crump Has Died

Rolly Crump, a Disney animator who later played an important role in designing early attractions at Disneyland and Walt Disney World, has died. He was 93. Crump brought his artistry to some of the most important attractions that guests still enjoy today, including It's A Small World and the Haunted Mansion.

Crump died at his home in Carlsbad, California, his representatives shared on Facebook. "He leaves behind a legacy that can never be matched, and the magic he crafted for countless people worldwide will never be forgotten," his representatives wrote in a Facebook statement. "Rolly and his family would like to thank the fans for supporting his work over the years. His entire life was filled with one 'kind of a cute story' after the next, and he will be remembered with lots of love."

Roland Fargo Crump was born on Feb. 27, 1930, in Alhambra, California. He was working in a ceramic factory in 1952 when he decided to take a lower-paying job at The Walt Disney Studios in 1952. While working as an in-betweener on Peter Pan, Lady and the Tramp, Sleeping Beauty, and other Disney projects, he built sewer manhole covers on weekends to pay the bills.

Throughout the 1950s, Walt Disney put together the first generation of Imagineers at WED Enterprises. Crump joined the team in 1959, becoming an important designer for Disneyland's early iconic attractions and shops. He worked on the Haunted Mansion, Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room and the Adventureland Bazaar.

When the original It's A Small World attraction debuted at the 1964-1965 New York World's Fair, guests could see his Tower of the Four Winds marquee. The ride was transferred to Disneyland in 1966 and Crump was responsible for the animated clock at the entrance. During that time, Walt nicknamed him "Rolly" since he had trouble remembering Crump's real name.

Crump's son, Chris Crump, who later joined Walt Disney Imagineering, agreed with many of his father's colleagues that he was a great collaborator. "What I observed was that Rolly had really great relationships with the people that he worked with," Chris told the Walt Disney Company website. "It is important to know the skills of your co-workers and to trust and respect them. I watched Rolly interact with his peers and was impressed with how well-respected he was."

When Disney World was finally getting off the ground in the late 1960s, Crump helped draw up early designs for Magic Kingdom. He also contributed to EPCOT, designing The Land and working on the Wonders of Life pavilion. After working on Disneyland expansion plans, he left Disney to launch his own firm, Mariposa Design Group, which worked on projects around the world.

Crump retired from Disney in 1996 but continued contributing to several projects. He was named a Disney Legend in 2004 and published his memoir It's Kind of a Cute Story in 2021. He is survived by his wife, Marie Tocchi; his children Christopher, Roxana, Theresa; and three grandchildren.