Richard Todd and Walt Disney – Two great friends !!

In 1951 Walt Disney cast Richard Todd in the title role in his British made classic ‘The Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men’ a film that was shot in England at Denham Film Studios  and Burnham Beeches.

This film followed Treasure Island – another British made movie of his – and in fact his very first all live action film. It was a success but Robin Hood was destined to be a bigger box office hit -  it certainly was the most expensive film made in England up to that time – and it showed.

I have a feeling that this picture was taken before the film was made and it was taken in the USA.

I think this photograph was taken at Coney Island and I seem to have read that Richard Todd thought he was in at the very first idea Walt Disney had for Disneyland which was opened in Florida in 1956. He may well have been right.

This  is the letter sent by Richard Todd to the Daily Mail – as above picture.    It shows the friendship between Walt Disney and the British actor that lasted long after he had completed his films for the him in the early fifties. I did read somewhere that Walt Disney was happy to take advantage of Richard Todd’s connections in Britain. He does seem to have been very popular and well  connected. He had by this time become a friend of Ronald Reagan and many years later he and his wife dined with the President at No 10 as the guests on Mrs. Thatcher who coincidentally came from Grantham where Richard lived – and died.

 

The Letter as follows:-

Daily Mail 10th December 2001.
Walt Disney  was a close friend from 1952 to 1966, when my wife, our children and I enjoyed the kindness and good humour of a remarkable man.
Walt’s avuncular benevolence seemed to be inculcated into his entire workforce. He seemed to know the names of everyone there, whatever their position.
Walt was at his most relaxed in his own home, but his real heart was to be found in the garden: the well-groomed lawns, beds and the barn which he brought from his boyhood home in Kansas and re-erected in his garden as his model railway workshop.
My eldest son, Peter, was born soon after I finished working on my first Disney film Robin Hood and his Merrie Men, and within weeks he received a large hamper of gifts. Thereafter at each Christmas for the next 14 years, Peter received a large box of presents, each one relevant to his age and with a gift label signed with love from Uncle Walt. When our daughter Fiona arrived four years later, she had the same sort of gifts from Uncle Walt.
In 1966, the container arrived usual by ship, but this time I had to tell the children there would be no need for a letter of thanks from them. Uncle Walt had died just after these gifts had been despatched.
This was the man I knew.
Richard Todd
Grantham
Lincolnshire.”
I have heard Richard Todd tell this story before on a radio interview.
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