Ron Miller Former Disney CEO and Son-In-Law Of Walt Disney Dead At 85

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Ron Miller was the son-in-law of Walt Disney and served as the president and CEO of the Disney company from 1978 to 1984. He was only the sixth official employee of Disney at the time, and helped build the brand from the ground up. Through the ups and downs of the company’s history, he remained a steadfast and loyal leader, guiding Disney to become the giant it is today. He passed away on Saturday in Napa, California at 85-years-old, according to Variety.

Walt Disney had two daughters, the oldest of whom was named Diane and attended the University of Southern California. Miller also attended USC and when the couple met they quickly fell in love. They tied the knot in 1954 and enjoyed a happy marriage until Diane’s death in 2013. Miller was on his own career path prior to getting married and was a football player for the Los Angeles Rams. He left it all behind to take on a new position with Disney.

Quickly, he became a trusted business associate to Walt himself. Miller worked his way up through the company’s ranks, serving a variety of roles. His first major position was as a second assistant on the set of the Disney classic, Old Yeller, in 1957. After the film’s major success, Miller got the opportunity to work on a number of other major films such as The Black Hole in 1979 and Tron in 1982. All the while, he maintained his status as one of the company’s most prominent leaders, eventually even helping to launch the Disney Channel in 1983. In addition, he contributed to the creation of Walt Disney Home Video and Touchstone Pictures.

The current Disney chairman and CEO, Bob Iger, released a public statement regarding Miller’s death.

“Everyone at The Walt Disney Company is deeply saddened by the passing of Ron Miller. His life and legacy are inextricably linked with our Company and the Disney family because he was such a vital part of both, as our CEO and Walt’s son-in-law. Few people had Ron’s understanding of our history, or a deeper appreciation and respect for our company, and he shared it generously with anyone who wanted to know more. I was fortunate to have known him, and even luckier to have called him a friend.”

Miller leaves behind his seven children, Christopher Miller, Joanna Miller, Tamara Diane Miller, Jennifer Goff, Walter Elias Disney Miller, Ronald Miller, and Patrick Miller as well as 13 grand children.