The Windows on Main Street: Roy E. Disney
Roy Edward Disney was born to Roy Oliver Disney and Edna Francis Disney in Los Angeles on January 10, 1930 (and is their sole child). As a child, he traveled to the Studio where he viewed the films the animators were working on (i.e. “Snow White”, “Pinocchio”) and acted as a sounging board to his father’s (and his uncle’s) workers. He graduated in 1951 from Pomona College with a Bachelor’s degree in English. Once out of college, he returned to the entertainment industry as an assistant film director on “Dragnet” before returning to the Walt Disney Studios in 1954.
Once back at the Studios, he worked on “The Living Desert” and “The Vanishing Prarie” (two True-Life Adventure films that won Academy Awards) as an assistant editor. He continued writing and working on television series like “Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color” as well as “Zorro”.
He formed his own production unit in 1964 to write, produce, and direct other television and theatrical productions (i.e. “Varda, the Peregrine Falcon”, “Mustang!”, “The Owl That Didn’t Give a Hoot”) before joining the Company’s Board of Directors in 1967.
He left the company in 1977 (after 23 years with the Studios) to become an independent producer/investor because he didn’t agree with the direction of the company. However, he still retained his seat on the board of directors.
In 1984, Roy used his swagger on the Board to oust his cousin’s husband (Ron Miller) and brought in Michael Eisner as CEO and Frank Wells as COO. In this same year, he became the Vice Chairman and head of the animation department (where he oversaw “The Little Mermaid”, “Beauty and the Beast”, “The Lion King”, and most of the Golden Age films). His favorite movie ever to oversee was Fantasia 2000-the long awaited sequel to his uncle’s Fantasia.
While Disney was head of animation, his department was extremely successful. He also had enormous power over most of his colleagues (even Eisner) which allowed his department to have some artistic freedom.
Towards the end of Eisner’s reign, Disney’s influence started to wane as Eisner appointed high posts to “Suits” that were more loyal to him, not the Disney family. On November 30, 2003, Disney resigned from the company (after the board of directors rejected his request for an extenstion of his term as a board member) based on differences of opinion about the management style and direction within the company.
After his resignation, Disney continued to actively work on forcing out Eisner as CEO (he and Stanley Gold created SaveDisney.com). In 2004, 43% of Disney shareholders voted to oppose the re-election of Eisner to the corporate board of directors, but he retained the CEO title (much to Disney and Gold’s dismay). As criticism against him increased (especially for being dissatisfied with PIXAR), Eisner annouced his resignation from the company on September 30, 2005.
To this day, Eisner still holds 1.7% of Disney stock (2nd largest owner) while Roy Disney holds 1% (the 3rd largest owner).
Roy Disney and Stanley Gold have become the Chair and CEO (respectively) of Shamrock Holdings which manages Disney’s personal investments. Disney is also a well known sailor (he set the monohull time record from Los Angeles to Honolulu with 7 days, 11 hours, 41 minutes, 27 seconds) and produced the film “Morning Light”.
Specializing in the Gentlemanly Sport of Racing at Sea Aboard the Ketch Peregrina
Sailmaker – Sailing Lessons
Patty Disney, First Mate