It is with tremendous sadness that news came today of Roy Disney's passing at the age of 79, the result of a prolonged battle with stomach cancer.
Roy would become a guardian of the Disney legacy left behind by his celebrated Uncle, who died on December 15th in 1966. It was Roy who many credit having rescued the company from a hostile takeover attempt in the 80's and who later worked tirelessly to reinvigorate Disney's Animation traditions. Having begun his Disney career as a writer on the True Life Adventure films that became a staple of Disney's Wonderful World of Color television show, Roy was also key in developing the Disneynature studio label that was tasked last year with providing nature oriented programming as a documentary film banner. (See Disney's 2nd Nature here.)
It seems a fitting tribute that Disney's return to hand drawn animation, The Princess and the Frog, debuted as the number one box-office film just last weekend. A film Time magazine called the number one movie of the year.
The loss of Roy's influence and guidance at the Disney Company is impossible to measure but we can only hope that his spirit will live on in the Disney brand as bold and brightly as that of his Uncle.
To the family and friends and most especially the cast members of the Walt Disney Company all over the globe, we extend our most heartfelt condolences and prayers. And to all who love and have loved Disney entertainment through the decades, we join with you in all of your fondest Disney memories, now and throughout the Holiday season.