He loved his only daughter, Ella, dearly and lavished every imaginable care and tenderness on her. His grand chateau attests to his great wealth, which tragically dwindles in his later years and is eventually exhausted after his death. His wife had died when Ella was very young.
Despite the fact that he did everything to make life better for Ella, he was depressed by the death of his wife and felt Ella needed a maternal figure, so he married again; his second wife being Lady Tremaine, who had two daughters of her own, Anastasia and Drizella. He welcomed his two stepdaughters into the family and it seemed his second marriage ran smoothly until he died.
Upon his untimely death, Lady Tremaine showed her true colors. She tyrannically took over his chateau, the remnant of his money, fired his servants, and even forced Ella to become a servant.
Role in the film
The narrator described him as "a kind and devoted father, and gave his beloved child every luxury and comfort". Presumably, he acquired the dog, Bruno and the horse, Major, as gifts for her, or it could have been that they originally belonged to him and she inherited them upon his passing.
However, he still felt that she needed a mother's care and hence, he married again. But his choice was, unbeknownst to him, a very bad one: Lady Tremaine was a handsome and dignified woman, with two daughters of her own, but all three of them were actually cruel and selfish.
His second wife and stepdaughters' true nature was hidden deep and well from him while he was alive, however, so he never realized the terrible mistake he had made. Upon his untimely death, all his wealth and his chateau was left to Lady Tremaine who, freed from her husband's watchful eye, revealed her true self, forcing Ella to become the servant of her own house, and squandered most of the inherited fortune on her own daughters, whose interests she was grimly determined to advance, even if it is at the very expense of her faultless submissive stepdaughter.
Despite all the abuse and mistreatment she had to endure under her cold, unloving stepfamily, Cinderella, as she was later called, remained ever gentle and kind, and finally found the happiness she sought simply by keeping faith in her dreams. Hence, it could be theorized if her father were to look down from heaven, he and his first wife (her biological mother) would definitely be extremely proud of their beloved child, and be considerably consoled that she no longer had to suffer because of his terrible choice of a new wife.
In the 2015 live-action reimagining, he is played by Ben Chaplin.
- According to Disney Villains The Top Secret Files, Lady Tremaine is reading an ad from Cinderella's father, which refers to him as Lord Tremaine meaning Cinderella's last name is also Tremaine. This makes sense, since in the old days the new bride and her children will sometimes take the husband's last name. However this information is contradicted in the 2015 live-action version of Cinderella, which refers to Lady Tremaine's first husband as Sir Francis Tremaine.
- Considering his death was untimely, along with Lady Tremaine's power-hungry, cruel, and manipulative nature, it is possible Cinderella's father was actually murdered by Lady Tremaine, however, nothing in the film suggests this and it is taken as canon that he died a natural death, possibly because of a disease or was murdered by Lady Tremaine herself.
- Cinderella's father bears similarity to Snow White's in the storybooks: both are widowers who were hit hard by the loss of their wives and remarry out of a desire for family stability, however, both fail to realize (for reasons beyond their power) that their choices put their daughters at a disadvantage.