Leah Sklar is the long time wife of Disney Legend, Martin Marty Sklar. The couple was married for decades before his passing on July 27, 2017.
He was Walt Disney’s literary right-hand man.
Born in New Brunswick, New Jersey, Sklar was a student at UCLA and editor of its Daily Bruin newspaper in 1955 when he was recruited to create an 1890s-themed newspaper, The Disneyland News, a month before the theme park opened. After graduating, he joined Disneyland full-time in 1956, where he held responsibility for most of the park’s publicity and marketing materials.
In 1961, he moved to WED Enterprises, renamed in 1986 to Walt Disney Imagineering, where he worked on attractions for the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair. For nearly 10 years, he wrote personal materials for Walt Disney for use in publications, television and special films. In 1974 he became vice president of concepts/planning.
As vice president of creative development, executive vice president and then president of Imagineering for nine years, Sklar supervised the design and construction of Tokyo Disneyland, the Disney-MGM Studios, Disneyland Paris, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Disney’s California Adventure, Tokyo DisneySea, the Walt Disney Studios Park and most recently Hong Kong Disneyland.
In 2001, Sklar was recognized as a Disney Legend and was the second recipient of the Themed Entertainment Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
In 2006, Sklar was named international ambassador for Walt Disney Imagineering. He retired from Disney on July 17, 2009, after 53 years with the Company. Following his retirement, he was invited as a speaker at conferences, conventions, corporate programs and Disney fan events across the country.
Sklar was also the author of two books, Dream It! Do It! My Half Century Creating Disney’s Magic Kingdoms and One Little Spark! Mickey’s Ten Commandments and The Road to Imagineering.
Marty is survived by his wife, Leah, their two adult children and their grandchildren.
Leah Sklar and Martin were married for a astounding 60-years. The couple welcomed two children during their marriage, son Howard and daughter Leslie.
Leah Sklar and her husband co-founded Ryman Arts in 1990, in memory of Disney artist Herbert D. Ryman. Martin served as president of Ryman Arts.
In 2015, Leah Sklar and her husband were recognized for their visionary leadership and dedication to providing high-caliber arts education to high school artists throughout Orange and Los Angeles counties. The event also recognized the many local business sponsors that continue to support Ryman Arts in its worthy endeavor.
Since its inception in 1990, Ryman Arts has engaged over 6,000 Southern California teens in its core 18-month studio program.
During her life time Martin wrote about his wife saying
the charming greeter at the front door of our home during a dozen or so evenings of our popular fund-raiser, “An Affair of the Art.”
He also praised her work at Ryman
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Leah’s ideas, her “voice of reason” and enthusiasm were always pointed in the right direction to grow our Ryman Arts program. And I cannot recall one Board discussion where Leah ever had a higher priority than the student artists in our program.