Tommy Walker Dies; Produced 350th Show
Tommy Walker, the mastermind behind Harvard's 350th stadium show, the Liberty Weekend celebrations and the 1984 Summer Olympic ceremonies, died last Monday while undergoing open-heart surgery in Birmingham, Ala. He was 63.
Walker's last major production was Harvard's 350th Stadium show on September 9th. Despite concerns that Walker's work was overly "glitzy," he marshalled a cast of luminaries that included Walter Cronkite, John Lithgow '67, and the Boston Pops into a two-hour production that was acclaimed as dignified and appropriate.
The former head of the Disney theme parks, Walker first achieved wide notoriety for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 1984 Summer Olympics, an extravagant celebration of American patriotic spirit that many percieved as overkill.
His next major project was the immense four day celebration of the Statue of Liberty's 100th anniversary, which culminated in a spectacular fireworks show.
Walker's first foray into show business fame was as undergraduate in the University of Southern California, where he penned the universally known "Charge Song."
He worked as an assistant to legendary showman Walt Disney, eventually working his way up to director of entertainment at Disney. After 12 years at Disney, he founded his own independent production company, quickly becoming known for his ability to provide live-entertainment spectaculars that worked like clockwork. Earlier this year Tommy Walker Productions was bought out by Radio City Music Hall.