Diane Disney Miller, the older daughter and only biological child of Walt Disney passed away November 19 after suffering injuries in a fall. She was responsible for founding the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco and was instrumental in the development of the Walt Disney Concert Hall. She received credit for writing a book about her father in 1956, though ghostwriters actually took care of the bulk of the writing. In addition to her philanthropic work, she co-owned Silverado Vineyards with her husband Ron Miller.
The company released a statement from CEO Robert Iger:
We are deeply saddened by the loss of Diane Disney Miller and our thoughts are with her family during his difficult time. 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.
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.
Miller was 79. She is survived by her husband Ron, who served as President of Walt Disney Productions from 1978-1983 and as CEO of the Walt Disney Company from 1983 to 1984. The Miller family included seven children, 13 grandchildren and a great-grandchild. Walt Disney’s other daughter, Sharon, died in 1993.