Diane Disney Miller, Daughter of Walt Disney, Dead at 79

Diane Disney Miller, Daughter of Walt Disney, Dead at 79

Disney boss Robert Iger says “she will be greatly missed by all who knew her.”

Diane Disney Miller, daughter of Walt Disney, died Tuesday. She was 79.

The Walt Disney Company president and CEO Robert Iger said Tuesday that Disney Miller “will be greatly missed by all who knew her,” noting “she holds a special play in the history of The Walt Disney Company and in the hearts of fans everywhere.”

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“We are deeply saddened by the loss of Diane Disney Miller and our thoughts are with her family during his difficult time,” Iger said in a statement Tuesday. “As the beloved daughter of Walt Disney and one of his inspirations for creating Disneyland, she holds a special place in the history of The Walt Disney Company and in the hearts of fans everywhere.  She will be remembered for her grace and generosity and tireless work to preserve her father's legacy, and she will be greatly missed by all who knew her.”

Born Dec. 18, 1933, Disney Miller was the eldest daughter of Walt Disney and his wife Lillian Bounds Disney.

She married Ron Miller, whom she had met on a blind date, in 1954. Miller would later become CEO of the Walt Disney Company, a position he would hold until 1984.

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Later, she would become a champion of the Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles, making sure that architect Frank Gehry's original design went forward when the project got muddled in budget disagreements.

In later life, Disney Miller and her husband operated Silverado Vineyards Winery on a tract of their Napa Valley, Calif. property. The couple purchased the winery in the late '70s with the intention of renovating  and restoring it, but later decided to run it as an functional winery.

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The pair had seven children together.

Diane's younger adoptive daughter, Sharon Mae Disney, died in 1993.

 

  • Ron Merk

    I had the rare privilege of meeting and spending time with Diane at a screening of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at The San Francisco International Film Festival a few years ago. I had worked with a number of the artists who helped Walt create the animated features, and told her some stories they told me that Diane had never heard, including one about Walt and Charlie Chaplin having lunch and talking about a film Walt was making. She was genuinely touched by the stories, and learning new things about her famous father. She graciously allowed a photo with me, something I think she rarely did. It was a great pleasure meeting her, a memory I will keep with me for the rest of my life.

  • Tim Hansen

    I think Sharon Mae Disney was Diane's adoptive sister, not daughter.