D23 EXPO ‘19: Robert Downey Jr. and others receive ‘Disney Legend Awards’!


Calling all Disney fans! The 2019 class of Disney Legends are here! This year’s honorees are an incredible group of performers, filmmakers, Imagineers, and more. To open the Disney Legends ceremony at D23 Expo, Bob Iger, chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, took the stage to welcome everyone.


The applause from the crowd was electric, and it only got more electric as Bob welcomed new Disney Legend Christina Aguilera to the stage to perform her hit single “Reflection” from Mulan. It was incredible, emotional, and exhilarating to see!


From there, the ceremony began, and Bob Iger returned to the stage. Introducing the awards, he said, “Over the years, the Disney Legends ceremony has become one of our company’s most meaningful traditions.” He went on to say, “The award is the highest honor our company bestows on anyone, reserved for the artists and visionaries throughout our history who have pushed the envelope of creativity, challenged traditional wisdom, and broken the restraints of the status quo in search of new possibilities.” After those inspiring words, Bob began presenting Disney Legends awards to the twelve new honorees, starting with…


ROBERT DOWNEY, JR.

He is Iron Man. He is Tony Stark. He is Robert Downey, Jr.! Robert is a two-time Academy Award nominee and Golden Globe winner who has appeared in more than 80 films. Disney fans know him best for his role as Tony Stark, aka Iron Man, in 10 Marvel Studios films, including the biggest movie of all time Avengers: Endgame. Robert is the first Avenger to also become a Disney Legend.


After a standing ovation and tons of cheers from the crowd, Robert took the stage. He made us laugh and feel inspired, saying of his new Legend-status, “Playing Tony over these many years, and that thematic idea that technology can guide our species towards enlightenment or destruction has been a really worthwhile, ongoing meditation and a great gift. I want to thank the fans who made this all possible.”

DIANE SAWYER

One of the most respected journalists in the world, and now a Disney Legend, Diane Sawyer is perhaps one of the most well known news anchors, tackling some of the biggest issues of our time with original reporting, primetime specials, long-form interviews, and in-depth investigations for ABC News. After more than a decade in television news, Sawyer joined ABC News in February 1989 as co-anchor of Primetime. She was named co-anchor of Good Morning America in January 1999, and held the post until taking over the World News anchor chair in December 2009.


Diane accepted the honor saying, “I’m really just a kid reporter who gets up every day and gets to ask questions of the world and go off to far-flung places. Although, I’m also the girl who remembers her first Disney experience…All of our friends got together and we saw something I will never forget. This is 60 or more years ago. We saw some tiny little mice who had needles and threads and they were singing ‘Cinderelly, Cinderelly, night and day it’s Cinderelly…’ and my eyes opened and my heart leapt and for the first time I felt the delight of all that was possible.”

JON FAVREAU

With projects for Disney, Star Wars, and Marvel Studios, Jon Favreau has been involved in nearly every aspect of The Walt Disney Company. Whether you know him for directing Iron Man, Iron Man 2, The Jungle Book (2016), and this summer’s The Lion King; as Happy Hogan in several Marvel Studios films; as a voice actor in Buzz Lightyear of Star Command, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and Solo: A Star Wars Story; or for his work on the upcoming Disney+ series The Mandalorian, you definitely know that Jon has earned his Disney Legend status.


Here’s what Jon had to say about becoming a Disney Legend, “Thank you so much. Thank you to my family, my Disney family, my Marvel family, my Star Wars family, my family of fans out there. You’re the reason I’m here, so thank you for creating a dialogue through storytelling and sharing our childhood memories and bringing those memories into the future and creating new memories for each generation.”


HANS ZIMMER

As prolific as film composers get, the legendary Hans Zimmer has scored more than 160 projects which, combined, have grossed more than $28 billion worldwide. Hans has been honored with an Academy Award, two Golden Globes, three Grammys, an American Music Award, and a Tony Award. Hans has been scoring projects for Disney since White Fang (1991), with several major projects to his name, including Muppet Treasure Island, Iron Man, various composing, editing, and producing roles for the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, and, of course, his Oscar-winning work on The Lion King(1994) as well as this summer’s reimagining.


Hans Zimmer could not attend the Expo in person to accept the honor, but appearing on video, Hans said, “It’s a great privilege to be selected by people I admire and trust and to be recognized alongside my extraordinary peers. Disney has been a home to me for the past 30 years. It’s a place that has supported all of my outlandish and crazy ideas. I’m forever grateful for the opportunities I’ve had to help bring the magic of Disney stories to life.”

ROBIN ROBERTS

As one of the foremost hosts on both ABC and ESPN, Robin Roberts, best known for her work as an anchor on Good Morning America, has been a legendary presence of TV for nearly 30 years. Since joining GMA, the show has won four Emmys for Outstanding Morning Program. For