Succumbing to a year-long battle with stomach cancer, Roy E. Disney passed away yesterday, December 16, 2009 at age 79.
Roy was the nephew of Walt Disney, and the only son of Roy o. Disney, the two brothers that started the Disney Company in 1923.
(Below is a short interview of Roy Disney. Thanks to ClassicThemeParks for providing it.)
Graduating from Pomona College in 1951, Roy immediately went to work for the Disney Company as an assistant director and producer. In 1967, shortly after his uncle Walt passed away, Roy was elected to the company’s Board of Directors. He also remained an executive of the company until 1977, when he resigned due creative differences.
Still on the board, however, Roy would take on the company in 1984 when he forced the removal of Disney’s CEO and Company President, Ronald Miller. Miller was also the son-in-law of Walt Disney. Upon Miller’s removal, a team led by Michael Eisner took over placing Roy in charge of the animation department and ushering in a new era for the company.
Over the next several years, Eisner and Disney together re-vitalized the brand and produced multiple animated hits. This cooperation would not last forever, however.
Once again, Disney felt the company was proceeding in the wrong direction and in the years of 2003-2005, he led another revolt against the company bearing his name. Eisner was forced out of control, and Disney was once again brought into the corporate fold, this time as Director Emeritus and consultant.
At the time of his death, Disney was estimated to be the third largest Disney shareholder with a 1% interest.