Diane Disney Miller Dies: Walt Disney's Daughter Was 79

Image: Diane Disney Miller Dies: Walt Disney's Daughter Was 79

Wednesday, 20 Nov 2013 11:58 AM

By Ken Mandel

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Diane Disney Miller, the only biological daughter of Walt Disney and inspiration for the Disneyland theme park, died Tuesday after complications from a fall months earlier.

She was 79. She was hurt in Napa, Ca., where she owned a home, Andi Wang, spokeswoman for the Walt Disney Family Museum, confirmed to The Associated Press.

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"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 Co. and in the hearts of fans everywhere," Robert A. Iger, the company's president and CEO, said in a statement. "She will be remembered for her grace and generosity and tireless work to preserve her father's legacy."

Born Dec. 18, 1933, Miller founded the Walt Disney Family Museum, which opened in 2009 in San Francisco, as a way to honor the Disney family legacy. She wanted to create a place to show Disney the man, rather than his corporate brand.

Disney is a worldwide entertainment superpower, with family-oriented theme parks, and well as television and movie studios, including ABC broadcasting television network, ESPN and Pixar Studios. It was founded in 1923 by Walt and Roy Disney as the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio. Mickey Mouse is one of the world's most recognizable cartoon characters.

But Diane and her adopted sister Sharon were the reason for Disneyland, and eventually Disney World.

"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," George Savvas, PR Director for Disneyland Resort, posted in a blog entry. "For that reason and many others, Diane will always have a special place in our company’s legacy and in the hearts of fans."

Sharon died of cancer in 1993. Miller is survived by her husband, Ronald, seven children and 13 grandchildren.

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