Cyril Edgar sure could sell a Disney film. His success was fueled by his winning personality and his sheer love of Disney; described by his colleagues as a witty fellow with an engaging personality, Cyril made everyone feel at ease around him. Even his wife, Tricia, observed, “Cyril had the most marvelous knack of changing any conversation about himself to the other person. Someone would ask a question, perhaps about the film industry, and before you knew it Cyril turned the tables so the other person would be talking about him or herself.”
Born in London, England, on May 4, 1907, Cyril was the son of a doctor and a homemaker. As a schoolboy he was inclined toward sports, participating in everything from boxing to cricket. After school, he won a job at British Lion Film Corporation Ltd. on Wardour Street; he eventually worked his way up to circuit manager, overseeing the booking of first-run films at theater circuits throughout the country.
In 1950, Cyril took a job with Disney as its liaison with RKO, which distributed Disney movies at the time. He proved to be an able sales and public relations representative; after observing Cyril with RKO’s distribution team in 1951, former Disney head of domestic and foreign distribution W.B. Levy wrote to Cyril, saying, “I was happy for the opportunity to observe how you have assumed your duties and maintained RKO relationships with efficiency and intelligence.”
Four years later, when Disney opened its own distribution operation in the United Kingdom, Cyril proved instrumental as director of sales, overseeing a number of regional offices throughout England, Wales, and Scotland.
In 1956, he was named joint managing director of Walt Disney Productions, Ltd., a title he shared with Disney Legend Cyril James. Known to all as “the two Cyrils,” they were an effective team; Cyril James tended to administration and finance, while Cyril Edgar sold Disney films to theater circuits and television shows to broadcast stations.
In December 1961, Cyril reported that his sales team had booked nearly 2,000 play dates at theaters throughout the United Kingdom during the lucrative holiday season; according to Cyril, it was a record at the time for any motion picture distributing company in the nation.
Fifteen years later, in April 1971, he was named European supervisor in charge of sales for the entire continent, and transferred to the Company’s European headquarters in Paris. The next year he retired, after serving more than 20 years with Disney.
Cyril Edgar passed away on February 5, 1987, in Bournemouth, England.