Via Animation Historian and NYU Professor John CanemakerOfficial statement from the Walt Disney Family Museum
The Walt Disney Family Museum Mourns the Loss of Ron Miller
Posted on Sat, 02/09/2019 - 22:05
With a heavy heart and deep sadness, we share that Ron Miller, husband of Diane Disney Miller, son-in-law of Walt Disney, President of the Board of Directors at The Walt Disney Family Museum, and owner of Silverado Vineyards, has passed in Napa, California at the age of 85.
At age 21, Ron, a member of the University of Southern California football team, was introduced to 20-year-old Diane Disney on a blind date. They were married in Santa Barbara on May 9, 1954.
Ron served in the Army and then played professional football for the Los Angeles Rams before his father-in-law recruited him to work at The Walt Disney Studios. There, he ascended from motion picture and television production roles to CEO of what is now The Walt Disney Company.
Ron first started working for Walt as part of the original Disneyland team, where he was employee number six. Ron’s first job in this capacity was serving as second assistant on Old Yeller (1957). Eventually, as CEO, Ron pushed the Company to expand and explore, creating Walt Disney Home Video, Touchstone Pictures, and The Disney Channel.
Ron, Diane, and Diane’s mother, Lillian, established Silverado Vineyards in 1981, four years after they purchased the property. This place, near the small town of Yountville, California, became Ron and Diane’s permanent residence.
Ron supported Diane’s pursuit in documenting the life and accomplishments of her father, from producing the documentary film Walt: The Man Behind the Myth (2001) to establishing The Walt Disney Family Museum in the Presidio of San Francisco in 2009.
Ron was a passionate outdoorsman. Alpine skiing, hunting, fly-fishing, and golf were lifelong pursuits. He was an experienced horseman with a cattle ranch near Montrose, Colorado.
Ron and Diane were generous philanthropists, supporting many causes, including classical music and ballet.
Ron is survived by his children Christopher Miller, Joanna Miller, Tamara Diane Miller, Jennifer Goff, Walter Elias Disney Miller, Ronald Miller, and Patrick Miller; grandchildren Annabelle Rey, Nicholas Runeare, Ryan Scheer, Danielle Durham, Sam Goff, Lily Goff, Charlotte Goff, Sebastian Runeare, Haley Scheer, Reilly Miller, Madeline Goff, William Miller, and Elias Miller; and great-grandchildren Stella Durham, Finley Scheer, and Evelyn and Mason Goff.
Donations may be made to the memorial fund that The Walt Disney Family Museum has established in honor of Ron and Diane Disney Miller. Donations will support the museum's ongoing education efforts, about which Ron was passionate. Donations and cards can also be sent to the family through The Walt Disney Family Museum, ATTN: Director's Office; 104 Montgomery Street, San Francisco, CA 94129.
Services will be private and the museum has not yet planned a public commemoration of Ron.
Ron Miller, Diane Disney’s Husband, ran Walt Disney Productions in the early to mid 80’s. Among other things, he is the progenitor of the Disney Channel and Touchstone Pictures. He also greenlit and produced films like “Pete’s Dragon”, “Tron”, “The Black Caldron”, “The Great Mouse Detective” and “Never Cry Wolf”; seriously, check the latter out if you haven’t seen it, an excellent Carrol Ballard film. He also supported a young Tim Burton by producing the original live-action “Frankenweenie”.
After being forced out of the company by Roy E Disney and Saul Steinberg, he and Diane moved up to the Bay Area and opened Silverado Vineyards. He helped Diane, along with their children, establish the Walt Disney Family Museum at the Presidio in San Francisco. He has overseen the museum and associated foundation since Diane’s passing in 2013.
You can learn more about the Walt Disney Family Museum here.
LA Times Obituary
Update: 2/10/19, Added WDFM statement on Ron’s passing