Roy E. Disney, nephew of Walt Disney, has passed away at the age of 79. Roy rescued the company his uncle and father built not once but twice. In the early 80s, Disney seemed ripe for a hostile takeover until Roy secured new management in the form of Michael Eisner and Jeffrey Katzenberg. In the mid 2000s, when, in Roy’s view, Eisner’s leadership became erratic and destructive, Roy led a shareholder revolt which resulted in Eisner leaving the company before the expiration of his contract.
Roy’s great passion was animation, and he championed it fiercely throughout most of his latter life.
For a full obituary from the New York Times, click here.
The farewell from animation artist Jenny Lerew is a bit more personal. Here’s a quote:
It can also be fairly argued that it’s through his personal efforts that we have any kind of viable feature-length animation scene in place today, much less one that makes billions and has changed the face of entertainment, not incidentally furthering the development of an artform.
Also check out Sandy Cohen via Roger Ebert. Cohen gives us a fine sense of the man and his history.
Rest in peace, Roy.
Jim Hill has just published a tribute to Roy in the form of a pre-release review of Waking Sleeping Beauty, the new documentary about Disney’s second animation Golden Age. Of course Roy features prominently in that film. I can’t wait to see it.
Nikki Finke has posted a fascinating (and detailed) account of Roy’s battle to oust Michael Eisner as C.E.O. of Disney. It’s a fine piece.
Also have a look at this Los Angeles Times photo essay on Roy Disney. Read the captions for some solid background info.