Remembering Ron Miller, Former CEO of The Walt Disney Company (1933-2019)

We’re saddened to report the passing of former president and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, Ron Miller, who passed away on February 9th, 2019. Miller was the son-in-law of Walt Disney, married to the late Diane Disney Miller, who would later go on to be the founder of The Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco. Following his career as CEO at Disney, Miller acted as the president at the Walt Disney Family Museum along with his wife Diane. 

Ron Miller, who was president, and then CEO for a short period between 1978 to 1984, left a legacy at the company that still feels his influence in the products he created. As CEO, Miller encouraged exploration and expansion, investing in experimental films that included TRON, Tim Burton’s original Frankenweenie, and planting the concepts that would become Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

Miller is also credited with founding the now-inactive Touchstone Pictures brand, which was used until 2016, including titles like Splash, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and The Nightmare Before Christmas. Created in order for the company to invest in films that were deemed too risky to market under the Disney brand, this banner saw the creation of some innovative films all without putting the respected Disney brand at risk. Miller also oversaw the foundation of The Disney Channel, still running to this day, albeit constantly changing, the legacy left by Miller’s creations led to some of The Walt Disney Company’s most memorable projects, leaving a long-lasting legacy in just a few short years of his tenure as CEO. 

Current Disney CEO, Bob Iger, released a statement on Miller’s passing early this morning:

“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. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

Miller’s legacy will continue to be remembered by the company and Disney fans, and his work in continuing the legacy of his father-in-law, Walt Disney, continues to live on in the immersive experience that is The Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco.

Photos by the Walt Disney Family Museum.