Walt Disney's Nephew Roy E. Disney Passes Away at Age 79
by Alex Billington
December 16, 2009
It has been officially confirmed by THR that Roy E. Disney, the nephew of Walt Disney who became a powerful behind-the-scenes influence on the family business, has died today at the age of 79. Not everyone may be familiar with Roy Disney, but he was one of the most influential people inside of the Walt Disney Company, helping turn it into the immensely successful company, movie studio, and powerful global brand that it is today. Back in 2005, he resigned both as an executive and as a member of the board of directors, although he's remained intimately involved in the company ever since. He died earlier today from cancer.
Although I never personally had the opportunity to meet Roy Disney, he was prominently featured in the documentary Waking Sleeping Beauty, which I saw just a few months back at the Telluride Film Festival. He carried the magic of Disney in his blood and held true to that imaginative spirit as best he could. He is perhaps best known for organizing the ousting of two top Disney executives: first, Ron Miller in 1984, and then Michael Eisner in 2005. He also worked as a writer and producer for the company in his younger years. He's done more for Disney than most probably know and he'll be remembered forever. Rest in peace, Roy.
The Archive of American TV has a wonderful six part interview with Roy that you can watch on YouTube.