We are saddened that Roy E. Disney, the nephew of Walt Disney and son of Roy O. Disney, founders of The Walt Disney Company, passed away at the age of 79 on Wednesday, December 16, 2009. He had been fighting stomach cancer.
Disney was largely a behind-the-scenes mover at the company, but when he took center stage he took it in a big way. He was always trying hard to maintain a Disney that Walt would have been proud to see.
With his business partner Stanley Gold he forced the replacement of his cousin Diane Disney Miller’s husband, Ron Miller with Michael Eisner and Frank Wells in 1984.
Following Wells’ accidental death in 1994, Disney’s relationship with Eisner soured, and eventually Eisner tried to oust Disney from the company. In 2005, after Disney led a shareholder revolt that canned Eisner as Chairman, the embattled Eisner also resigned as CEO.
While his Uncle Walt served as the creative dynamo, Roy’s father carried his end of the partnership by managing the company’s finances. In his 56 years with the firm, and in his own business, Shamrock Holdings, Roy Disney seemed to display the same talent.
Aside from the corporate politics, he was a champion of the company’s legacy in animation. He was also an award-winning film editor, screenwriter and producer, a highly successful yachtsman, and an active philanthropist.
“Roy's commitment to the art of animation was unparalleled and will always remain his personal legacy and one of his greatest contributions to Disney's past, present and future,” company president and chief executive Bob Iger said in a statement.
The only child of Roy and Edna Disney, Roy Edward Disney was born in Los Angeles on January. 10, 1930. He is survived by his wife, Leslie, and four children from his marriage to Patricia Dailey Disney – Tim Disney, Roy Patrick Disney, Abigail Disney, and Susan Disney Lord, according to The Walt Disney Company. He is also survived by 16 grandchildren.