Roy E. Disney, the nephew of Walt Disney, has died. He was 79.
The company announced that Disney passed away in Newport Beach, Calif., after a yearlong bout with stomach cancer.
Company president and chief executive Bob Iger said Disney was much more than a valued 56-year company veteran.
“Roy’s commitment to the art of animation was unparalleled and will always remain his personal legacy and one of his greatest contributions to Disney‘s past, present and future,” Iger stated.
Although he generally stayed out of the spotlight, Roy didn’t hesitate to lead a successful campaign in 1984 to oust Walt Disney‘s son-in-law after concluding he was leading the company in the wrong direction.
Nearly 20 years later, he launched another successful shareholders revolt, this time against Michael Eisner, the man he’d helped bring in after the previous ouster.
Eisner and his wife issued a statement expressing their sympathies over Disney’s death.
Don Hahn, an executive producer at the Disney movie studio, credited Roy with ushering in a new era after taking over the animation department in 1984. Together, they helped make such blockbusters as Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King.
“He took it under his wing, was a cheerleader, a coach, therapist,” Hahn said.
John Lasseter, chief creative officer for Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios, also lauded Disney.
“He put his heart and soul into preserving Disney‘s legendary past, while helping to move the art of animation into the modern age by embracing new technology,” Lasseter said.
Roy also was vital to the Disney Legends program, established in 1987 to acknowledge and honour the many individuals whose imagination, talents and dreams have created the Disney magic. The awards were given out annually by Robert Iger and Roy E. Disney during a ceremony at the Walt Disney Studios.
The Legends–which included Elton in 2006–were chosen by a selection committee chosen by Roy E. Disney.
Since its inception, the program has recognised many gifted individuals, including animators, songwriters, actors and business leaders as having made a significant impact on the Disney legacy.