Roy E. Disney died on Wednesday in Newport Beach, California, he was 79 years old. Roy, who helped revitalize the famed animation division of the company founded by his uncle, Walt Disney, died
at Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian of a stomach cancer, a spokeswoman for the Walt Disney Company said.

Mr. Disney, who had homes in Newport Beach and the Toluca Lake district of Los Angeles, was the last member of the Disney family to work at the entertainment conglomerate built by his uncle and his father, Roy O. Disney.

As a boy the younger Roy would play in the halls of his uncle’s studio, where animators often used him as a test audience as they toiled on movies like “Pinocchio.” As an adult he helped bring the animation studio back from the brink, overseeing a creative renaissance that led to “The Little Mermaid,” “Beauty and the Beast” and “The Lion King.”

Walt Disney had planned a sequel to “Fantasia,” the groundbreaking 1942 film that used animation to interpret classical music, but he died in 1966 before he could complete it. His nephew, Roy, took over the project and made it his passion, spending nine years on its execution. “Fantasia 2000” sold about $91 million in tickets worldwide, a disappointing total given its cost and time commitment.

Survivors include his wife, Leslie DeMeuse Disney. He is also survived by his former wife of 52 years, Patricia Dailey Disney, and four of their children: Tim, Roy Patrick, Abigail and Susan Disney Lord; and by 16 grandchildren.

Mr. Disney was a big fan of referring to the past to define the future. He told a biographer: “The goal is to look over our shoulder and see Snow White and Pinocchio and Dumbo standing there saying, ‘Be this good.’ We shouldn’t be intimidated by them; they’re an arrow pointing someplace.”

Source: New York Times