16

In a recent episode of the somewhat popular series "James & Mike Mondays", Mike Matei makes the claim that he once read on a card of the game Trivial Pursuit that Walt Disney once kill somebody by accident during a game of polo.

He further claimed that information on the incident is hard to find and implied that the Disney Corporation may have attempted to keep this information hidden.

Here is a transcript of the episode (Emphasis mine):

Mike: I was playing Trivial Pursuit one time and I'm playing Trivial Pursuit and I pull up a card and there is a question in it and I read it and it says: "How many people did Walt Disney kill?" And you flip it over and the choices were 0, 1, 2 or 3.

James: Is this a joke question or...?

Mike: It's not a joke question.

James: Okay.

Mike: And I'm like "Well, zero! He didn't kill- It's Walt Disney! He didn't kill anybody." And the answer was I think one. So, there was a game of polo and it was a polo accident--

James (at the same time): Okay...

Mike: --that happened and apparently he killed somebody during a game of polo, by accident!

Are there any reliable sources that confirm that this happened? Or is this an urban myth?

  • 1
    According to a biography of Will Rogers, he did. See also "Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination" p281, which states that his horse fell on Gordon Wescott, who died 3 days later. – AShelly Nov 21 '17 at 23:00
  • 1
    @Ashelly: Please post that as an answer, so it can be voted upon, etc. – Oddthinking Nov 22 '17 at 3:40
  • Do we count his mother, that he blamed himself for? Even though it wasn't in a game of polo. – Fizz Nov 22 '17 at 16:37
  • @Fizz Unless he was directly the cause or at least involved in her death, I would not say so – MechMK1 Nov 23 '17 at 8:12
  • 1
    Walt Disney did not directly kill the men, but my great grandmother's cousin, Gordon Westcott died from injuries at a polo match with Disney. – Lily Baker Mar 8 '18 at 12:46
25

Actually, this is incorrect.

Evidently, the answer is 2 to the Trivial Pursuit question.

As to whether Walt Disney killed someone, I would say the answer is No. Two men did die while playing polo in games with Disney but neither man's death was attributed to him.

According to Michael Barrier, an animation historian, the Trivial Pursuit question was actually:

How many people died from injuries incurred playing polo with Walt Disney?

From his blog:

A few days ago, Thad Komorowski posted on his blog a card from the 1985 Disney edition of Trivial Pursuit, which included this unusual question: "How many people died from injuries incurred playing polo with Walt Disney?" Trivial Pursuit's answer: two. Thad asked me to provide some more details, and I did, at this link. The two deaths were those of Gordon Westcott, an actor, in October 1935, and Winslow Felix, an auto dealer, in May 1936. Both men were fatally injured during matches at the Riviera Country Club.

Unfortunately, the link is broken and I couldn't find a copy on the Wayback Machine.

Here is a scan of page 218 of The Ogden Standard-Examiner from 31 oct 1935, referring to the basal skull injury suffered in a polo game:

THURSDAY EVENING, OCTOBER 31, 1935. RELATIVES OF DEAD ACTOR TO ATTEND RITE: Ogden People Prepare To Leave For West Coast Services Ogden relatives of Gordon Westcott handsome character actor of the films, who died Thursday in Hollywood from a basal skull injury suffered in a polo game, were preparing today to attend his funeral which will probably be held , in the Warner Brothers studios.

The men's deaths seem to be from being crushed or thrown by a horse so I don't know if saying Walt Disney kill is accurate.

both newspapers said that Westcott was crushed under his own horse.

Winslow Felix was apparently injured and died in a collision with another rider.

On May 31, 1936, Felix was playing in a polo match on the Freebooters team against the Riviera Blues at the Riviera Country Club. Minutes into the hotly contested match, Felix's horse collided with Reginald "Snowy" Baker's mount, throwing both riders to the ground.

Baker ignored injuries to his head and shoulder to get himself and Felix off the field before they were trampled. Baker went back to the game while Felix was rushed to the hospital, where he died the next day of a head injury. He was 42.

On an unrelated note, Felix Winslow's auto dealership still uses Felix the Cat in its sign. He once gave a car to Felix cartoon producer, Pat Sullivan, who let him use the cat. Photo of sign

Source: michaelbarrier.com

  • I'd be more inclined to upvote this if we could get the obituaries or something other than just a blog. – JasonR Nov 22 '17 at 12:56
  • 1
    findagrave.com/memorial/18678 and articles.latimes.com/2005/apr/03/local/me-then3/2 might serve as the start of such an evidence trail. – Ben Barden Nov 22 '17 at 14:31
  • 1
    Found (and added) obituary for Westcott. Felix is harder. findagrave.com/memorial/61101864/winslow-b.-felix – Jan Doggen Nov 22 '17 at 14:40
  • I would explicitly state that the collision that lead to Winslow's death did not involve Disney, "Felix was engaged in a ride-off with Snowy Baker, veteran polo player, when his horse stumbled and collided with Baker's mount. Both Felix and Baker were unseated." (from @JanDoggen 's link) clearly disproving "Disney kill" for one, but that leaves the original claim of one accidental killing still possible. – user36688 Nov 22 '17 at 16:26
  • 6
    Do we have any verification that those games included Walt Disney as a player? – Ben Barden Nov 22 '17 at 21:00

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .