Hollywood is full of conspiracy theories, rumors, and urban legends. There are some especially interesting tales when it comes to Disneyland and Disney World creator, Walt Disney. When the beloved filmmaker passed away at the age of 65, numerous bizarre stories began circulating. People claimed that Disney froze his body and buried it under the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at his theme park. Past Disney employees have helped spread stories about secret happenings in the parks as well as hidden messages in his classic cartoons. But one of the most interesting rumors is that Walt Disney's last words were "Kurt Russell." Whether written or spoken, is there any truth to it?
If you're wondering what the actor Kurt Russell and the beloved animator have in common, you might recall that as a child actor, Russell starred in a slew of Disney films in the '60s and early 1970s. In fact, Disney loved him so much he was under a 10-year contract to appear in films including The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes, Follow Me, Boys!, The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band (the film where he met Goldie Hawn), The Strongest Man in the World, The Horse in the Gray Flannel Suit, and more.
According to The Washington Post, The Walt Disney Company mogul reminded the young actor of his own grandfather so he was never intimidated, regularly providing a youth perspective for the filmmaker. Russell recently worked with Disney Studios again when he appeared in the Marvel film Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. The film's director James Gunn told The Washington Post that he was familiar with the Disney legend. He even admitted that he's seen the note on Disney's desk with the actor's name on it. But the thing is, it's more of a fun story than actual facts.
"I've seen that sheet on this desk, that spells 'Kirt Russell,' " Gunn confirms.
"I was able to take a tour of Walt Disney's office -- they've totally re-created how it was on the Disney lot when he died. They love their Disney lore -- all the Disney guys -- and they kind of told me the whole story. It isn't exactly a true story, that this was the last thing [Disney] wrote in his office."
Kurt Russell was apparently shown the slip of paper after Disney's passing, but its meaning remains unclear. Potentially related to his contract with the company? Regardless, it's a wonderful story of two of the most beloved names in the film industry. It's only fitting that we're able to use our imaginations to think about Disney's true meaning behind "Kirt Russell."