Roy E. Disney, the nephew of Walt Disney, was honored Sunday at a service at Hollywood’s El Capitan Theatre.
Sunday’s memorial was anything but a sad occasion. There were live performances and clips from some of his award-winning movies. Everyone was asked not to wear black, but bright colors or Hawaiian shirts. It was a true celebration for the man who was behind some of the most successful Disney movies to date.
About 1,000 people turned out for the memorial including many animators, actors and studio heads. Disney died in December 2009 at the age of 79 after a year-long battle with stomach cancer. He was the son of Disney co-founder Roy Disney and the nephew of Walt Disney.
Roy E. Disney played a key role in revitalizing the Walt Disney Company in the 1980s, when he was the vice chairman of the board of directors and the head of the animation department. Through his guidance, the company produced a string of box office successes including “Beauty and the Beast,” “The Little Mermaid,” “Aladdin,” “The Lion King” and “Fantasia 2000.” Disney’s family says he really helped bring the company back to its roots.
“It wasn’t the company he loved and wanted to be successful, but he really loved the people in the company to be successful. He knew them individually, loved them, adored them, cherished them,” described Leslie DeMeuse Disney, Roy E. Disney’s widow.
“My dad was there from the beginning, so he had that connection with Walt and the connection to the beginning, so he understood the core of what this place really is, and he understood how important it was and how important good story telling is, no matter what form, ” said Roy P. Disney, Roy E. Disney’s son.
During the memorial, Disney’s CEO and President Robert Iger made a special announcement that the main animation building in Burbank will be renamed the Roy E. Disney Animation Building.
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