Longtime Disney publicity exec Denise Greenawalt died in her sleep on May 22 at Huntington Hospital in Pasadena, CA, following a long illness, the company announced today. She was 52. During her 16 years at Disney, Greenawalt played a key role in developing and implementing publicity campaigns for many of the studio’s biggest animated hits including Tarzan, The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, Toy Story 1 and 2, Pocahontas, Hercules, Mulan, Fantasia 2000, The Emperor’s New Groove, Lilo & Stitch, Brother Bear, A Bug’s Life, Monsters, Inc. and Beauty And The Beast. She also helped to launch several major Touchstone Pictures/Jerry Bruckheimer Films such as Armadegeddon, The Rock, Con Air and Pearl Harbor. Born in Philadelphia, PA, Greenawalt attended Loyola Marymount, School of Film and Television, and later received her MBA from UCLA. She began her PR career at Rogers and Cowan and joined The Walt Disney Studios’ Field Publicity department as an assistant in 1986. She rose through the ranks and in 1994 was named VP of national publicity. She retired from Disney in 2002. She continued doing volunteer work for such organizations as Elton John’s AIDS Foundation. She was a member of ASIFA, Women in Film and the Publicist Guild of America where she and the Disney publicity team were honored with the Maxwell Weinberg Showmanship Award for their work on Beauty And The Beast and Aladdin. Greenawalt received a special award of merit from the Guild in 1997.
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