Roy E. Disney Dies

Roy Edward Disney, who led two separate revolts against chief executives of his late uncle’s corporation, and helped revive its legendary animation unit, died December 16 of cancer. He was 79. The Los Angeles Times paid him tribute in a long article.

The first chief executive of the Walt Disney Co. that Roy unseated was Walt’s own son-in-law, Ron Miller. The struggle began in 1984:

The turmoil Disney ignited eventually swept the old management group from the corporate suites. In the end, Disney, with an alliance formed with the billionaire Bass family of Texas, returned to the board and forced out the studio management, paving the way for the hiring of a new team led by Michael Eisner, Frank Wells and Jeffrey Katzenberg.

However, after the death of Wells in 1994 relations between Roy and Michael Eisner grew strained.

By November 2003, Disney learned that the board’s four-member nominating committee was planning to leave his name off the slate of directors scheduled to be elected at the company’s next annual meeting. The longtime animation chief discovered he had been shut out of a Thanksgiving week screening of ideas for new animated films. The company had been in a prolonged financial slump, with its earnings flat and its stock performance anemic, but the snub was the last straw. Disney and Gold, his business partner, abruptly quit the board of directors in December 2003 and called for Eisner’s resignation.

[Thanks to David Klaus for the link.]

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3 thoughts on “Roy E. Disney Dies

  1. Let’s honor Roy less for his boardroom showdowns than as the production engine behind a number of the studio’s films of his day, in particular “Fantasia 2000”.

  2. Good point. Not that Roy shouldn’t also be honored for unloading the CEO responsible for The Black Hole.

    And Roy took the lead in producing some of the famous Disney nature documentaries way back in the day.

  3. Well, Roy Disney is the hero of hardcore Disney fandom primarily for his boardroom showdowns. Though, to a lesser extent, also for getting some long-neglected projects finished and brought to the light of day, like Destino (Disney’s collaboration with, believe it or no, Salvador Dali).

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