Early life and career
Disney was born in Los Angeles, California, the son of Edna (née Francis) and Roy Oliver Disney, and nephew of Walt Disney. He graduated from Pomona College in 1951 and first began working for the Walt Disney Company as an assistant director of Walt Disney, producing "True-Life Adventure" films in 1954. He married Patricia Ann Dailey in 1955 and is a father of four. He continued to work as a writer, director and producer until 1967 when he was elected to the Board of Directors of the company.
First "Save Disney" war (1984)
Roy Disney resigned as an executive from the Disney company in 1977 due to disagreements with corporate decisions at that time. As he claimed later, "I just felt creatively the company was not going anywhere interesting. It was very stifling." But he retained a seat on the board of directors. His resignation from the board in 1984, which occurred in the midst of a corporate takeover battle, was the beginning of a series of developments that led to the replacement of company president and CEO Ronald William Miller (married to Walt's daughter Diane Marie Disney) by Michael Eisner and Frank Wells. Roy soon returned to the company as vice-chairman of the board of directors and head of the animation department.
Partnership with Eisner
He set his goal as revitalizing the company's tradition of animated feature films and by the end of the decade, there were successes in this department. Although Roy acted largely as a figurehead, he could wield significant power, even over Eisner, his ostensible boss, and employees of the department have praised Roy for ensuring them plenty of artistic freedom on their projects. During the 1990s, Roy's department produced a number of commercially successful, critically acclaimed films and the era has been called a renaissance for the company and animation in general, though there was a decline in profits starting at the end of the decade. On October 16, 1998, in a surprise presentation made at the newly unveiled Disney Legends Plaza at the company's headquarters, Disney Chairman Michael Eisner presented him with the prestigious Disney Legends Award.
Roy's pet project was the film Fantasia 2000, a sequel to the 1940 animated movie Fantasia produced by his uncle Walt Disney. Walt Disney had planned a sequel to the original movie but it was never made. Roy decided to make this long-delayed sequel, and he was the executive producer of the film that took nine years to produce and was finally released on December 17, 1999. Like its predecessor, the film combines high-quality contemporary animation with classical music. Also like its predecessor, it was not a financial success at the US box office. Roy gained celebrity status. The last member of the Disney family to be actively involved in the company, he was compared to both his uncle Walt Disney and his father Roy Oliver Disney in appearance and personality. Forbes magazine estimated his personal fortune at about US $1.2 billion.
Second "Save Disney" war (2003–05)
After a struggle with CEO Michael Eisner, Roy Disney's influence began to wane as more executives friendly to Eisner were appointed to high posts. When the board of directors rejected Disney's request for an extension of his term as board member, he announced his resignation on November 30, 2003, citing "serious differences of opinion about the direction and style of management" in the company. He issued a letter criticizing Eisner for mismanaging the company, neglecting the studio's animation division, failures with ABC, timidity in the theme park business, instilling a corporate mentality in the executive structure, turning the Walt Disney Company into a "rapacious, soul-less" company, and of refusing to establish a clear succession plan.
After his resignation, Disney helped establish the website SaveDisney.com, intended to oust Michael Eisner and his supporters from their positions and revamp the Walt Disney Company.
On March 3, 2004, at Disney's annual shareholders' meeting, a surprising and unprecedented 43% of Disney's shareholders, predominantly rallied by former board members Roy Disney and Stanley Gold, voted to oppose the re-election of Eisner to the corporate board of directors. This vigorous opposition, unusual in major public corporations, convinced Disney's board to strip Eisner of his chairmanship and give that position to former U.S. Senator George Mitchell. However, the board did not give Eisner's detractors what they really wanted: his immediate removal as chief executive. In fact, Roy Disney's campaign regarded Mitchell himself unfavorably; 25% of shareholders opposed Mitchell's re-election to the board in the same election.
As criticism of Eisner intensified in the wake of the shareholder meeting, however, his position became more and more tenuous, and on March 13, 2005, Eisner announced that he would step down as CEO on September 30, one year before his contract expired.
On July 8, Roy and the Walt Disney Company, then still nominally headed by Eisner but, in fact, run by Eisner's long-time lieutenant, Bob Iger, agreed to "put aside their differences." Roy rejoined the Walt Disney Company as a nonvoting Director Emeritus and consultant. Roy and Gold agreed to shut down their SaveDisney.com website, which went offline August 7. On September 30, Eisner resigned both as an executive and as a member of the board of directors, and, severing all formal ties with the company, he waived his contractual rights to perks such as use of a corporate jet, a Golden Pass and an office at the company's Burbank headquarters. Eisner's replacement was Bob Iger.
One of Roy Disney's stated reasons for engineering his second "Save Disney" initiative had been Eisner's well-publicized but financially unjustified dissatisfaction with long-time production partner Pixar Animation Studios and its CEO Steve Jobs, creators of shared hits Toy Story, Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, and other critically acclaimed computer animated motion pictures. This estrangement was quickly repaired by successor Iger upon Eisner's exit, and on January 24, 2006, the company announced it would acquire Pixar in an all-stock deal worth US $7.4 billion, catapulting Jobs, also co-founder and CEO of Apple, Inc, to Disney's largest shareholder with 7% of the corporation's outstanding shares. Jobs also gained a new seat on Disney's board of directors. Former CEO Eisner, who still holds 1.7% of shares, became Disney's second largest shareholder, and Director Emeritus Roy Disney, with 1% of shares, became its third largest owner.
Roy Disney's efforts to oust Eisner from the company were chronicled by James B. Stewart in his best-selling book, DisneyWar.
- Disney was a trustee of the California Institute of the Arts, another institution founded by his uncle Walt.
- He appeared as himself in a voice cameo in an episode of the animated show Mickey Mouse Works (later shown on House of Mouse) in which Mickey accidentally sent him an angry fax meant for Mortimer Mouse.
- He appeared in the 1985 documentary film The Fantasy Film Worlds of George Pal (produced and directed by Arnold Leibovit).
- He also appeared in the 2002 documentary The Sweatbox.
- He made an appearance in the 2007 documentary The Pixar Story.
- He executive produced the multiple network anti-drug program Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue in 1990.
- In 1998 he executive produced The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit, written by Ray Bradbury and directed by Stuart Gordon. The film starred Edward James Olmos, Joe Mantegna, Sid Caesar, Esai Morales, Gregory Sierra and Clifton Collins Jr..
- Shamrock Holdings, which Roy Disney chaired and Stanley Gold runs as CEO, is an investment company which managed Roy Disney's personal investments.
Major Donors to the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles
Roy E. and Patricia Disney were early major donors to the campaign led by Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, the Archbishop of Los Angeles, to build a new and much needed Roman Catholic Cathedral in downtown Los Angeles. Patricia Disney, a lifelong active Catholic, and her aunt Meredith A. Disney, both served on the advisory campaign when the Cathedral was being planned in 1997. When the Cathedral opened in September of 2002, Roy and Patty Disney co-hosted a "Celebration of Dedication" on the Grand Plaza and 1,300 invited guests attended including Helen and William M. Close, Patricia and Roy E. Disney, Gretchen and Bruce Willison and Phyllis and J. Michael Hennigan. Many others attending included Charles Elias Disney and Daniel H. Disney, Rita Moreno, John Nava, Cathedral Pastor Monsignor Kevin Kostelnik, Kirk Douglas, Monica and James Hahn, Gayle and Ed Roski, Gretchen and Michael Wayne, Robert Maguire, Margie and Tom Romano, Susan and Timothy Strader, Carmen and Jose Lladro, Amanda and Anthony Mansour, Kathryn and Steve Sample, Annette and Peter O'Malley, Noelle and Edward Aloe, Shannan and Eric Binder and Constance and John Gavin. Appearing onstage in the presentation that also featured performances by the USC Thornton Symphony, the Los Angeles Children's Choir and inspirational readings by Anjelica Huston, Rita Moreno, Edward James Olmos, Keith David and Peter MacNicol.
Roy and Patricia Disney Family Cancer Center at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center
The Roy and Patricia Disney Family Cancer Center at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center at 501 S. Buena Vista Street is directly across the street from The Walt Disney Company headquarters in Burbank, California. This is a new, innovative four-floor, 55,000-square-foot facility providing the full range of diagnostics, treatment, care and support services for cancer patients and their families. The Cancer Center brings together the most advanced technology in radiation oncology along with state-of-the-art medical and surgical oncology, excellent clinical outcomes and research, and an amazing array of support services, resources, and complementary therapies that few cancer centers across the country offer. The first of its kind, located in the San Fernando Valley, this signature cancer center has been designed to focus on human touch and human interaction; to promote healing through nurturing spaces inside and out; and to empower patients through information and education. The Disney Family Cancer Center was dedicated and opened on February 8, 2010. Members of the Disney family were in attendance when this beautiful facility was dedicated and the center opened just a few weeks after Roy E. Disney had passed away on December 16, 2009 and Patricia Ann Disney passed away on February 3, 2012.
Disney held several sailing speed records including the Los Angeles to Honolulu monohull time record. He set it on his boat Pyewacket in July 1999 (7 days, 11 hours, 41 minutes, 27 seconds).
On January 19, 2007, after beginning a relationship with Leslie DeMeuse, Roy Edward Disney (then 77 years old) filed for divorce from his wife, Patricia Dailey Disney (then 72), citing "irreconcilable differences", according to court documents. The couple, married 52 years, had been living apart for an unspecified amount of time, according to the Los Angeles County Superior Court filing. They had four adult children: Timothy "Tim" Disney, Roy Patrick Disney, Abigail Disney, and Susan Disney Lord. Patricia Ann Disney died of Alzheimer's disease on February 3, 2012, aged 77.
In 2008, Roy Disney married Leslie DeMeuse, a CSTV producer, and Emmy winner of various sailing documentaries. The two created the sailing documentary TransPac—A Century Across the Pacific in 2000, and were executive producers of the sailing documentary Morning Light, which follows the selection and training of 18- to 23-year-old sailors on the 2007 Transpacific Yacht Race.
On January 4, 1998, Pope John Paul II made Roy Edward Disney a Knight Commander of the Pontifical Order of St. Gregory the Great (KCSG).
On January 1, 2000, Disney participated as the Grand Marshal of the 111th Rose Parade alongside Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck.
On April 26, 2008, Disney received an honorary doctorate from the California Maritime Academy, for his many contributions to the state and the nation, including international sailing.
As a tribute to Disney, the animation studio building at the Walt Disney Studios, in Burbank, California, was re-dedicated as the "Roy E. Disney Animation Building" on May 7, 2010. Hundreds of D23 members were present for the celebration. VIPs Roy Patrick Disney, CEO executive Robert A. Iger, film producer Don Hahn, Mickey Mouse, Roy's first cousins Charles Elias Disney and Daniel H. Disney were on hand for the dedication.
Roy Edward Disney died of stomach cancer on December 16, 2009 at Hoag Memorial Hospital in Newport Beach, California. He was 79 years old, three weeks shy of his 80th birthday, and had been battling the disease for over a year. He was survived by his wife Leslie DeMuse-Disney, four children: sons Roy P. Disney and Tim Disney and daughters Susan Disney and Abigail Disney from his marriage to Patricia Dailey Disney, and sixteen grandchildren. At his request, after his funeral service, he was cremated, and his ashes were scattered into the Pacific Ocean.
- Biography portal
- Walt Disney (2015 PBS film)
- Roy E. Disney on IMDb
- Interview with Netribution
- Association for Computing Machinery Video Interview with Roy E. Disney
- Roy E. Disney interview video at the Archive of American Television
- Roy E Disney - Daily Telegraph obituary
- Roy E. Disney at Find a Grave
|This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The article or pieces of the original article was at Roy E. Disney. The list of authors can be seen in the . As with Disney Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the GNU Free Documentation License.|