The Walt Disney Company remains one of the best examples of a successful family business. The company was established by Roy O Disney along with Walt Disney, his younger brother in the 1920s. Walt is largely seen as the forerunner and the brainchild of the media and entertainment company, but it was Roy who really ran the business and steadied the ship as they gained success over the years.
Roy and his family moved around a lot and eventually settled in Kansas and started to build his own life away from his parents and the rest of his siblings. He remained solely dedicated to the success of then-titled Walt Disney Productions until he passed away in 1971. There remain elements that celebrate his contribution to the company’s success such as his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and one of the railroad locomotives dedicated to him at Walt Disney World.
Roy O Disney’s Biography
Roy’s full name is Roy Oliver Disney. He was birthed in Chicago, Illinois on June 24, 1893. His father was a Canadian Irish man named Elias Charles Disney, and his mother, Flora Call Disney, was of English, American, and German ancestry. Roy was the middle child of his parents and has four siblings. He came after his brothers Herbert Arthur and Raymond Arnold and before his brother Walt and sister Ruth Flora. His family moved around a few times. First, they relocated from Illinois to Marceline, Missouri in 1896, and eventually to Kansas City, Missouri in 1911.
While at Kansas, Roy Disney’s father, Elias put down money on a Kansas newspaper delivery route to deliver newspapers for The Kansas City Star. Roy and Walt served as delivery boys along the route purchased by their father. They delivered The Kansas City Times and The Kansas City Star. In 1912, Roy did his education at the Manual Training High School of Kansas City. He subsequently walked away from the newspaper delivery business to work on a farm during the summer.
He subsequently was hired as a clerk at the First National Bank of Kansas City where his older brother Raymond also worked. Roy O Disney was conscripted into the US Navy in 1917 but didn’ serve there for long. He soon contracted a case of tuberculosis and was promptly discharged in 1919.
Upon his return to civilian life, Roy was employed at a Los Angeles bank. During this time, Walt joined Roy in 1923. In the same year, the brothers teamed up and established their company, which they initially named The Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio. They also set up their kit houses beside each other in central Los Angeles’ Los Feliz neighborhood.
Roy O Disney never wanted his name in the limelight and so always opted to remain in the background while Walt Disney was more or less the face of the company. Walt busied himself with the creative aspect of the studio while Roy was in charge of the financial and management side of things.
He retained equal partnership in the company even though most of his shares had been bought by his brother in 1929. In the same year, Roy started to handle the responsibilities of the CEO, even though he wasn’t officially the CEO until much later in 1968. He also served as co-chairman of the board with Walt until his brother gave up the role in 1960 to solely focus on the company’s creative aspect.
Roy O Disney was planning to retire when his brother Walt passed away on December 15, 1966, aged 65. As a result, Roy postponed his retirement so that he could oversee the construction of Disney World. The theme park and vacation resort was eventually renamed by Roy to Walt Disney World upon completion in honor of his deceased brother.
He served as president of the company starting in December 1966 to sometime in 1968. Roy stayed on top of things until the theme park was completed and opened in October 1971. Roy promptly took his long-delayed retirement and passed away on December 20 of the same year, aged 78. He died of intracranial hemorrhage and was buried at Los Angeles’ Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Hollywood Hills). In 1998, he was posthumously awarded a star for Motion Picture on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
What Was His Net Worth?
There are many factors to consider here. For one, Roy O Disney sold most of his shares to Walt Disney in the late 1920s. Still, he was the one largely responsible for the business and commercial success of the company and ran a really strong and formidable ship until his death. Sources estimate that at the time of Walt Disney’s death, he was worth about $1 billion dollars after being adjusted for inflation. There are no reliable sources online that state Roy’s net worth, however, the information paints a clearer picture of how much he would have been worth when he was alive.
Roy O Disney’s Family, Son (Roy E. Disney)
While Roy comes from a relatively large family, he seems not to have shared the penchant for replicating the same in his own marriage. It is not clear when Roy Disney met Edna Francis. However, the two walked down the aisle in 1925. Their marriage produced only one child, a son known as Roy Edward Disney, born January 10, 1930.
Roy E. Disney started work at Walt Disney Productions after college in the early 1950s. He started as an assistant director and producer and became a member of the company’s Board of Directors in 1967. He is widely credited for fighting off some investors who were planning a hostile takeover to dismantle the company and sell off its assets.