The Associated Press is reporting that Roy E. Disney, nephew of Walt Disney and former senior executive of The Walt Disney Company, died today at the age of 79. Disney, while technically a figurehead of the overall company, wielded enormous power throughout the reigns of CEOs Ron Miller and Michael Eisner, both of whom Disney played a crucial role in ousting and making sure that the company never lost sight of its roots in animation.
Hit the jump to read more about Disney’s life and legacy.
Throughout his career, Disney’s primary attention was towards animation, having begun his work at the family business in the creative department where he worked as a writer, producer, and director until he was elected to the Board of Directors in 1967. After working to replace CEO Ron Miller in 1984 with Michael Eisner and Frank Wells, Disney became the vice-chairman of the board of directors and the head of the animation department. It was under Disney’s tenure there that he oversaw the early-90s renaissance which created such classic movies as The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, Aladdin, and Beauty and the Beast.
But the coolest thing Disney ever did was working to get rid of Eisner beginning in 2003. Feeling that Eisner had mismanaged the life out of the company (and he had), Disney resigned in 2003 and then launched the website SaveDisney.com. One Disney’s major points of contention was in Eisner’s batshit insane dissatisfaction with Pixar. Thankfully, with the ousting of Eisner and the installment of current CEO Bob Iger, relations with Pixar were repaired and I would say it’s worked out pretty well so far.
Disney is survived by his ex-wife Patty, daughters Abigail and Susan, sons Roy and Timothy, and 16 grandchildren.