Roy E. Disney is Born

It was on this day in 1930 that the late Roy Edward Disney was born. The son of Walt’s brother, Roy Oliver Disney, Roy Edward was a part of the Disney company from his earliest years, often being left at the Disney Studio to have his father babysit while his mother went shopping.

Roy once said, “I think my most vivid memory of early years at the studio is I was walking down the hall, they were making Snow White—the scene where the huntsman decides not to kill her and she runs off through this moonlit forest with the owls flying at her and the trees grabbing at her hair, and she’s running through the camera with her eyes that big. Well, I saw this on a Moviola in one of the artists’ rooms in pencil. Just pure pencil test, black and white. They had run probably about three or four shots cut together and it was looped so this thing ran over and over and over and I was scared witless by that scene. I think it’s still in my memory a scarier scene than the pencil version ever was inked and painted in the final. But what it gave me and really taught me more than any other single thing was the power of this medium, just through a few pencil lines to bring emotion right into you.”

Not being an artist and growing up near the Burbank airport with all types of planes flying overhead, particularly during World War II, Roy knew he wanted to grow up to build airplanes, but going to college and flunking calculus made him focus on what he knew he could really do—write. Roy went on to write, produce, and become involved in many films for Disney, later helping guide the studio to a new golden age of animation, beginning with The Little Mermaid. He was also involved in many Disney nature films, in fact one of his proudest achievements was his work on a film about the Peregrine Falcons, which decades later, in the year 2000, contributed to the species being taken off the endangered list.

With his numerous achievements and awards, an interviewer once asked Roy, “How would you like to be remembered?” Roy simply replied, “I don’t know. I just hope somebody remembers.”