A philanthropist was lost today. A legacy bearer was lost today. Diane Disney Miller, the oldest daughter of Walt and Lillian Disney, passed away today, November 19, 2013.
From all accounts, Diane was a very giving and caring person. She had a passion for music and a desire to protect and clarify the Disney name. There have been many rumors about Walt that she spent time trying to clear up since he passed away in 1966. At the same time she wanted to let people know Walt was not a saint either.
Born on December 18, 1933, Diane and her sister Sharon grew up at the family home in the Los Angeles area. On Sunday afternoons Walt Disney would take Diane and Sharron to either the Disney Studios or to Griffith Park, where he would watch the girls play, leading to his inspiration to build Disneyland in 1955.
Diane met her future husband, Ron Miller, on a blind date, and the two were married in 1954. After being persuaded by Walt, Ron would work several jobs in the Disney company, eventually becoming CEO. Following his leaving the company in 1984, Diane and Ron moved to Napa where they began operating Silverado Vineyards.
In 1997 Diane Disney Miller played a vital role in helping build the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles by supporting the design and work of architect Frank Gehry. The concert hall would finally open in 2003.
In 2009 Diane co-founded the Walt Disney Family Museum with her son Walter Elias Disney Miller. The museum, owned and operated by the Walt Disney Family Foundation, is located in San Francisco.
Diane passed away following complications from a fall in her home in September. She is survived by husband Ron, seven children, 13 grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.
We lost a philanthropist today. We lost a legacy bearer today. However, today, for the first time since 1966, Diane Disney Miller got to hug her daddy.