Roy E. Disney: 1930-2009
Roy Edward Disney, the son and nephew of The Walt Disney Company co-founders Roy O. Disney and Walt Disney, respectively, passed away yesterday after a yearlong battle with stomach cancer at the age of 79.
Roy E. Disney joined the Disney Company in 1953 and worked there 56+ years, eventually serving as Vice Chairman of its board of directors and chairman of Disney Animation from 1984-2003. Most recently he held the title of director emeritus and consultant. As the head of Disney Animation, Mr. Disney was credited with guiding the studio into a new golden age of animation with feature films such as The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and The Lion King.
Roy E. Disney was also a passionate defender of the company and its direction, leading a shareholder revolt not once but twice against the company and its board when he and others believed that Disney had lost its bearings. The first revolt was in 1984 when he fought to have Ron Miller (Walt’s son-in-law) removed, and again from 2003 to 2005 when he had Michael Eisner booted– ironic, as Disney helped to bring Eisner into the company following Miller’s exit. Eisner led the company together with Frank Wells until 1994 when Wells died in a helicopter crash.
At the time of Disney’s death, he owned over 16 million shares of the company, which made him the second largest single shareholder. With his passing and the completion of the Marvel merger, Issac Perlmutter will become the second largest individual shareholder. Steve Jobs is the largest.