Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Diane Disney Miller 1933-2013

Most of you have heard or read by now of the sudden passing of Walt Disney's daughter Diane.
My heart goes out to her husband Ron, her children, but also to the wonderful staff at the Walt Disney Family Museum.
I met Diane years ago at the house of Marc and Alice Davis. Frank & Ollie's book on Disney Villains had just been published, and I brought a copy along with me. When I asked Diane to sign it, she politely declined. I remember her words: 
"My family is very proud of our heritage, but we don't take credit for it."
At first I was surprised, but the more I thought about it, the more I respected Diane's point of view.
When Alice announced that we were all going to have lunch at the Tam O'Shanter restaurant nearby, Diane said: "Gosh…Dad and I used to go there all the time".
That phrase stunned me for a moment, after all only Diane (and her younger sister Sharon) could refer to Walt Disney as dad.

Over the years I had the chance to see Diane at various functions, my most recent get together was just last September in a meeting with Museum staff and members of her family. Diane was full of energy, full of ideas for future exhibitions, panels and events at the Museum.

Due to her strong will and convictions, all of us in LA can enjoy performances at the amazing Walt Disney Concert Hall, which finished construction in 2003, but only because of Diane's persistence and generous support.
Alice Davis said that Diane was like her father in many ways. When she wanted to get something done, she did it with passion, the best way possible, no matter how many obstacles might come her way.
To say that she will be missed is an understatement.

This photo was taken last year at the unveiling of the Walt Disney Storyteller sculpture. From left to right:
Marty Sclar, Imagineer Ray Spencer, Diane, imagineer/animator Blaine Gibson, Mickey, Walt, me and sculptor Rick Terry.

Mickey Mouse sketch by Fred Moore, early 1940s.


  1. She will be missed by all the people that cherish Walt Disney's legacy.I believe she has played a great role in the real appreciation of the Old Maestro's genius and contributions to the art of animation. I was really sad when I read the news. Thank you so much for sharing your stories with Mrs. Diane. Reading you has helped me to keep going in a difficult time of my life.

  2. This is such dreadful news. What a dear lady she was, ever modest and sweet. Thank you for sharing your personal experiences, Andreas.

  3. She continued her father's wonderful legacy. Rest in peace Diane, truly there are no words to describe this sudden and tragic event.
    Thank you Mr. Deja for your dedication to her memory.

  4. Thank you for this post, Mr. Deja.

  5. Very nice words Andreas, she must have been a great woman!
    Thanks for the post.

  6. I'm truly saddened by this tragic thing. Her father would be proud. Now there's nothing we can do to stop this death. Walt and Mickey truly would miss her by now if Walt survived the 21st century.

  7. I was one of your hosts for the unveiling of the Storytellers statue, and that day was the first thing I thought of when I heard the news. Diane was so gracious and kind to us all that day, particularly when playing host to us Tour Guides and walking us through all the photos of her father in the 1901 lounge. We were truly heartbroken to hear of her passing, and can never say how much it meant to hear the stories we've shared with Guests over the years, but from such a unique, personal and meaningful perspective. Diane was a reminder to us all of why we do what we do and she will truly be missed. <3

  8. Are you still doing work for Disney, Andreas?