The Windows on Main Street: The Miller Family
This week, we’ll focus on Walt’s only biological daughter and her family: The Miller Family. Their window has the inscription:
Lazy M Cattle Company
Ron & Diane Miller
Ron Miller (born in 1931) attended USC where he played left end for the USC Trojans from 1951-1953. While in college, he and Diane Disney were set up on a blind date. The two hit it off and married on May 9, 1954, after Ron got approval from Diane’s parents-Walt and Lillian. After the marriage, Miller worked as a liason between WED Enterprises and Disneyland before he was drafted into the army (five months later). Two months after Ron was drafted, their youngest son Christopher (12/10/1954) was born. Once Ron finished his duty, he played a professional football for a season with the Los Angeles Rams. When Walt came to one of his games, The animation magnate told his son-in-law that he was going to die on the field and Disney didn’t want to be father to his grandchildren. At that point, Walt asked Ron to return to work at his company.
Walt successfully got Ron into the Screen Director’s Guild and Miller went through life in various co-producer positions (i.e. Old Yeller, Son of Flubber, Summer Magic, That Darn Cat!) until finally becoming a full producer on Never a Dull Moment. After Walt’s death, Miller continued in the company with producing credits on TRON, Pete’s Dragon, and Escape to Witch Mountain.
In 1980, Ron Miller became the president of Walt Disney Productions and became CEO just 3 years later. During his reign, the Disney Company was a target of takeover attempts and corporate raiders but there were some bright moments: the formation of the Touchstone label (which allowed Disney to make adult-oriented films without the prevalence of the Disney name); establishing the Disney Channel; funding a young Tim Burton’s films (Vincent and Frankenweenie); acquiring rights and developing Who Framed Roger Rabbit; funding Disney’s first attempts at computer animation; and Disney’s first Broadway show (Total Abandon in 1983). However, the shareholders grew to dislike Miller. In 1984, Roy E. Disney and his fellow shareholders threw Miller out in favor of Michael Eisner (CEO) and Frank Wells (President and COO).
During recent years, Miller has spent his time at the Silverado Winery (which he purchased with Lillian-Walt’s wife), his ranch in Wyoming (The Lazy M Ranch) and commenting on the fact that he doesn’t respect the current leaders of the Disney Company.
Diane Disney Miller (born December 18, 1933) is the only biological daughter of Walt and Lillian Disney. During her adult years, she has spent her time as a philanthropist-namely by donating nearly $5 million to various charities within the United States. She was the key player in building the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles as well as working on opening The Walt Disney Family Museum at the Presidio of San Francisco
Christopher Disney Miller was born on December 10, 1954. During the 1970s and 1980s, he spent his time working as an assistant director on several films (i.e. “Something Wicked This Way Comes”, “The Black Hole”, “Herbie Goes Bananas”)
Joanna Miller was born on April 4, 1956.
Tamara Scheer (née Miller) was born on July 3, 1957.
Jennifer Miller-Goff was born on May 8, 1960.
Walter Elias Disney Miller was born on November 15, 1961. He executive produced “Walt & El Grupo” as well as “Walt: The Man Behind the Myth”
Ronald Miller, Jr. was born on October 9, 1963.
Patrick Miller was born on November 19, 1967.