Roy E. Disney, the nephew of the late Walt Disney and a longtime senior executive for the Walt Disney Company, died Wednesday morning, sources confirm to Zap2it. He was 79.
Disney had been battling cancer. The news of his passing was first reported by the Los Angeles Times.
Throughout Roy Edward Disney’s career, he kept the core Disney creative spirit alive and spearheaded the ousting of two top Disney executives, Ron Miller and Michael Eisner, at the Walt Disney Company, which was founded by his uncle Walt and father Roy Oliver Disney. He’s also been credited for bringing about the Disney animation renaissance of the 1990s that actually began in 1989 with the “Little Mermaid” and also included “Beauty and the Beast,” “The Lion King,” “Aladdin” and “Hercules.”
He last served as a consultant for the company and Director Emeritus for the Board of Directors.
Roy E. Disney began his career with the Walt Disney Company as the assistant director of the “True-Life Adventure” films in 1954. He was elected to the company’s Board of Directors in 1967. After resigning as an exec in 1977 due to disagreements with corporate decisions at that time, he then resigned from the board in 1984.
He soon returned, however, as the vice-chairman of the board of directors and partnered with Michael Eisner to revive the company’s tradition of animation. In addition to the films named above, this era also produced “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” “Mulan,” “Pocahontas” and “Tarzan.”
In late 2003, Disney once again resigned over differences of opinion with Eisner, whom he felt mismanaged the company and neglected the animation division. He began the SaveDisney.com campaign to oust Eisner, who was stripped of his chairmanship in 2004. In September 2005, Eisner stepped down as CEO and replace by Bob Iger.
Roy Disney once again returned to the Walt Disney Company as a non-voting Director Emeritus and consultant. With Iger now heading the company, Disney patched up relations with production partner Pixar Animation Studios, the studio behind “Toy Story,” “Finding Nemo,” “The Incredibles,” “Ratatouille,” “Wall-E” and “Up.”
Disney was married to Patricia Ann Daily in 1955, but they couple divorced in 2007. They had four children together.
He is survived by daughters Abigail and Susan, sons Roy P. and Timothy Disney and 16 grandchildren.
Photo credit: Getty