Today we learned of the passing of Walt Disney’s daughter, Diane Disney Miller. Upon learning the sad news, Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger said, “We are deeply saddened by the passing of Diane Disney Miller. She is remembered by Disney fans around the world as the beloved daughter of Walt Disney, and one who graciously shared her family history and personal memories of her father.”
“Diane was a fierce guardian of her father’s legacy who never hesitated to set the record straight, opening The Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco to bring her father’s fascinating story to life. In our many conversations over the years, Diane’s unique and special perspective about her father only deepened my considerable appreciation for him. Diane was incredibly generous in that regard, freely sharing her personal insights and providing details that deepened our knowledge, and we remain grateful for her many valuable contributions to our efforts to preserve Disney history. She and her sister, Sharon, have long been recognized as Walt’s inspiration for Disneyland, a place he created for families to have fun together. For that reason and many others, Diane will always have a special place in our company’s legacy and in the hearts of fans.”
“She was also known for her philanthropic efforts, including playing an integral role in the development of the renowned Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles to ensure the creation of a unique venue bearing her father’s name that she believed would be “a wonderful thing for the city, for the spirit, for the soul.”
“Diane was the wife of former Disney CEO Ron Miller, as well as mother to their seven children, Christopher, Joanna, Tamara, Jennifer, Walter, Ronald and Patrick. She also had 13 grandchildren and had the great joy of recently welcoming her first great-grandchild into the world. We send our sincere condolences to the entire family and our thoughts remain with them during this difficult time.”
Last year, at the Disneyland Resort, we had an opportunity to meet Diane and take some photographs of her and her family as they visited Disney California Adventure park for the first time since its expansion. Spending a little time with her was a thrill for all of us.
Upon seeing the Storytellers statue, Diane remarked with a sparkle in her eye that she didn’t remember him being this young, saying, “He was older when I met him!”
Among our favorite photos of Diane and the Disney family is this special moment captured during Walt and Lillian’s wedding anniversary celebration in The Golden Horseshoe, just four days before the grand opening of Disneyland park — her father’s dream that she and her sister Sharon inspired years earlier on that day when their dad watched them play from a nearby park bench.