Having created some of the world's most popular and enduring cartoon characters, animator and entrepreneur Walt Disney was a self-made man who became the biggest, most influential figure in filmed entertainment during the 20th century and beyond. Starting with a little mouse named Mickey, Disney forged a giant multi-billion dollar empire that included numerous animated film classics, television shows and theme parks the world over. Starting with the animated short, "Steamboat Willie" (1928), which he created with the help of animator Ub Iwerks, Disney brought to life the world's most recognized and popular cartoon character, Mickey Mouse. After a series of successful shorts starring Mickey and his pals Minnie, Pluto, Donald and Goofy, he boldly ventured into animated features with "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" (1937), setting in motion a Golden Age in animation that included numerous classics like "Pinocchio" (1940), "Dumbo" (1941) and "Bambi" (1942). An innovator who eagerly pushed the boundaries of available technology, Disney was a true pioneer with hand-drawn animation and set the standard that all others followed for decades to come. Following World War II, which saw him contribute more to the war effort than his own ambitions, Disney branched out in numerous directions and cemented his rapidly expanding empire. He ventured into live-action movies with "Treasure Island" (1950), "Old Yeller" (1957), and "Mary Poppins" (1964), while taking strides on television with "Walt Disney Presents" (1954-2008) and "The Mickey Mouse Club" (ABC, 1955-59). But his greatest achievement was the Disneyland theme park, which opened in Anaheim, CA in 1955 and played host to countless millions looking to plunge themselves into childlike fantasy for the day. Though he never lived to see the expansion of his theme park dreams with Florida's Walt Disney World and EPCOT Center, Disney remained an iconic figure whose profound influence on American culture was permanently entrenched well into the 21st century.