The Magic Kingdom is in mourning at the passing of the legendary animator Francis Xavier Atencio at age 98. He was one of the original ‘imagineers’ that worked alongside Walt Disney and helped draw some of the most iconic images children all over the world have come to know and love.
Atencio started his career at the Walt Disney Company in the 1930s working on iconic films like Pinocchio and Fantasia, then going on to create The Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean attractions. Atencio is also credited with writing the catchy theme song for the Pirate ride – “Yo Ho, Yo Ho! A Pirate’s Life for Me”
Lovingly called X by friends and Disney himself, X lived long enough to see his Pirates creation become a film franchise even enjoying the company of its star Johnny Depp.
Atencio honed his craft at the Chouinard Art Institute and soon after leaving school went to work at Disney in 1938 at the age of 18. X is also created with crafting stop-motion sequencing enabling Disney to create live action films like The Parent Trap and Mary Poppins. He won an Oscar in 1953 for his work on the Disney animated short Plunk and Boom.
In the 1960s the Disney Legend, moved to the animation department and became an ‘imagineer’ when the company expanded into the amusement park business – a business it dominates today. Besides working on The Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean he is also credited with working on Space Mountain and the Mexico pavilion at Epcot.
This incredible talent was given the ultimate honor by Disney – making his voice immortal. It can still be heard throughout Disneyland decades after it was recorded by generations that to this day enjoy his incredible imagination. One of his most famous lines lives in the Pirates of the Caribbean experience:
“Mark well me words, mateys” Dead men tell no tales.”
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