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Beloved Disney Historian Jim Korkis Dead at 72

Jim Korkis Disney Historian
Credit: Animation World Network

There are a lot of Disney fans who would consider themselves experts on certain Disney topics. Some people know all about the best restaurants to eat at in each Park. Others know a lot about the history of Disneyland, Disney World, and other Disney Parks. And then there are people that know a ton about Disney animation and the history of Disney movies. But then, there are some very elite Disney fans who are truly experts, as they know almost everything there is to know about all things Disney.

Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse Partners statue at Disneyland Park

Credit: Disney

One of those experts was Disney historian Jim Korkis. Jim studied everything about Disney and, over the years, wrote a number of books about Disneyland, Disney World, Walt Disney, and so much more. Korkis wrote nearly two dozen books on the subject that can be purchased on Amazon. Some of his most popular books are Secret Stories of Disneyland, Secret Stories of Disneyland: Things You Never Knew You Never Knew, The Vault of Walt, Who’s Afraid of The Song of the South and Other Forbidden Disney Stories, and Off to Neverland: 70 Years of Disney’s Peter Pan.

Off to Neverland Jim Korkis

Credit: Amazon

Sadly, we have learned that Jim has passed at the age of 72. According to his friend Mark Goldhaber, Jim hadn’t had any major problems, until an accident sent him to the hospital in February. While in the hospital, doctors discovered a number of serious health problems. Jim had multiple blocked arteries and needed a quadruple bypass. It was also discovered that Jim had contracted COVID and had stage 4 colon cancer that had spread to his liver. Jim fought hard and underwent chemotherapy, but was unable to overcome his health issues.

Jim Korkis

Credit: Dennis D., Flickr

Mr. Goldhaber shared the sad update on a GoFundMe he had set up for Jim:

Friends, I am heartbroken to have to inform you that our friend Jim Korkis passed away this morning. He was unresponsive this morning at the rehab center and was transported to the hospital. His brother Mike was able to arrive a few minutes before Jim passed. While Jim could not respond, Mike said that Jim appeared to be able to hear him, and he was able to talk to Jim for those last few minutes.

Jim had been feeling good this week, and there really was no indication that things would take a turn for the worse. He did not appear to be in pain, and went quickly and quietly as he had wished.

There will be a memorial for Jim at a date and time to be determined. It will be held via Zoom so that those elsewhere in the US or overseas can attend. We’ll publicize the details once it’s set, but for now Mike needs to focus on taking care of the necessary details.

To those of you who contributed to this GoFundMe, THANK YOU! Your contributions and messages of support gave life and light to Jim over these last several weeks. He was astonished to see how many people loved him. The remaining balance will be used to help pay off his final medical bills.

As I get more information from Mike, I will share it. In the meantime, thank you all for your support.


Jim Korkis

Credit: Jim Korkis GoFundMe

Fans followed Jim’s journey closely and supported him along the way. In the months since he learned of his failing health, family, friends, and fans donated to Jim’s GoFundMe. They raised more than $40,000 to help Jim fight. The money that remains in the GoFundMe will help the family pay off Jim’s final medical bills.

Our hearts go out to his friends and family.

About Krysten Swensen

A born and bred New England girl living the Disney life in Southern California. I love to read, to watch The Golden Girls, and love everything to do with Disney and Universal. I also love to share daily doses of Disney on my Disney Instagram @BrazzleDazzleDisney!

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