Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman, Frozen team — Idina Menzel, Kristen Bell, Jonathan Groff, and Josh Gad, as well as Grey’s Anatomy actors Ellen Pompeo and Patrick Dempsey, were honoured with the Disney Legends Award at D23 Expo.
Disney’s D23 Expo kick-started on Friday. The Disney Legends Award is given to an individual who has made an extraordinary contribution to the Disney legacy. Boseman, the star of Marvel Studios’ Black Panther franchise, was honoured with the award posthumously. His brother Derrick Boseman accepted the trophy on his behalf of him.
“I wish that he was here to receive this honour… The fact that he has not been here having been a point of immense pain for my own family. But I think about how he honoured our parents, his family, his friends and all the contracts that he signed except the last one. When he honoured them with his blood in sweat.
“He played these roles and was taking chemo at the same time. Some of these roles had him doing things that were physical. He was so strong that even six days before he died, he honoured the promise he made to his partner and married her,” Derrick said in the acceptance speech.
Boseman died in August 2020 following a secret battle with colon cancer. He was 43.
The Disney Legends Award ceremony, which took place at the Anaheim convention centre here, was hosted by famous television personality Tamron Hall. Bob Chapek, CEO of Disney, presented the trophy to the honourees.
“It is the 35th anniversary of Disney Legends. We are honoured today to present the award to this year’s legends and we are honoured because we have several past Disney Legends that are here for the ceremony,” Chapek said.
Other honourees were Robert Price Bob Foster, Don Hahn, Doris Hardoon, Chris Montan, Rob’t Coltrin, Anthony Anderson, and Tracee Ellis Ross.
Groff, best known for playing ice harvester Kristoff in the Frozen movies and Holden Ford on Mindhunter, said growing up in the early 1990s as a young gay boy, Disney VHS tapes were his primary source of express and expression.
“I dressed up as Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella. And one Halloween when I was three-years-old, I dressed up as Mary Poppins. Actually, I have a home video of my grandparents that Halloween, calling me Mary without any sense of irony,” he quipped.
“It is a complete dream come true and it is such an honour to be on this illustrious list of Disney Legends… I want to thank my mom for letting me dress up as whomever I wanted to dress up and always fanning the flame of my creativity,” he said.
Groff also expressed his gratitude to Frozen directors Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee for creating a space where young boys can put on their Anna and Elsa (popular characters voiced by Bell and Menzel) dresses and sing and express themselves.
The winners received a two feet-tall bronze Disney Legends sculpture that signifies the imagination, creativity, and magic they have brought to the company. The recipients also participated in a handprint ceremony following the event.
Their bronzed prints will be displayed in the Disney Legends Plaza at the Company’s Burbank headquarters.
The Disney Legends Awards were introduced in 1987 with actor Fred MacMurray, who starred in the studio’s 1959 comedy film The Shaggy Dog, becoming the first recipient. Till now, including this year’s honourees, 304 artists have been named Disney Legends.
The list includes Tim Allen, Julie Andrews, Robert Downey Jr, Annette Funicello, Whoopi Goldberg, Sir Elton John, Angela Lansbury, George Lucas, Steve Martin, Robin Roberts, Marty Sklar, Dick Van Dyke, Barbara Walters, Ming-Na Wen, Betty White and Robin Williams.