On this day in 1913, Disney Legend Roberto de Leonardis was born in Naples, Italy.
Following in the footsteps of his father (an admiral in the Italian Navy), a young Roberto attended the Military Academy in Lovorno, Tuscany. He was shipped out to Asia during World War II and was later captured by the Japanese (after Italy's surrender to the Allies). As a prisoner of war, he was detained along with American GIs until the war's end in 1945. It was during that time he learned to speak English.
His English-speaking skills proved to be invaluable as in 1947 he was hired by Disney to translate its films for Italian audiences. His work included such classics as Bambi, Dumbo, and Pinocchio. By 1951, Roberto established his own dubbing company, Royfilm, which continued translating films for Disney (in addition to MGM, Paramount, and Universal).
Roberto passed away in 1984 and was inducted a Disney Legend in 1997.
Today his company Royfilm, now managed by his son Roy, continues the tradition by translating Disney television programs.
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