Marvin A. Davis, an Emmy Award-winning architect and designer who helped plan Disney theme parks and won an Emmy for art direction, died March 8 in a Santa Monica hospital following a brief illness. He was 87.
Davis joined Walt Disney Imagineering in 1953, where he worked directly with Walt Disney and other directors, designers and animators in creating almost every aspect of Disneyland, including Main Street U.S.A., Sleeping Beauty’s Castle and the Haunted Mansion attraction.
After Disneyland opened in 1955, Davis worked for Walt Disney Prods. doing art direction and scenic design. He contributed to the movies “Zorro,” “The Swamp Fox,” “Moon Pilot” and “Babes in Toyland,” and won an Emmy for “Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color” in 1964.
In 1965, he returned to Imagineering, and was a project designer on the concept for Walt Disney World in Florida. In addition to the master plan for the sprawling complex, he concentrated on the design of resort hotels on the property.
The Clovis, N.M., native retired from Disney in 1975, and in 1994 was named a Disney Legend.
Prior to working for Disney, he earned a degree in architecture from the U. of Southern California, where he earned an American Institute of Architects medal as the top student in his class.
He worked for 20th Century Fox as an art director before joining Disney.
Davis is survived by his wife, Marjorie, who is Disney’s niece; three children, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.