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Former Disney CEO Ron Miller Dies at 85

Ron Miller, the former CEO of the Walt Disney Company, passed away on Saturday at the age of 85.

Miller, who was the son-in-law of Walt Disney, served as president and later CEO of the iconic company from 1978 to 1984. Miller also served as president of the board of directors of the Walt Disney Family Museum, as well as the owner of Silverado Vineyards.

Miller was introduced to Diane Disney at the age of 21, and the pair were married on May 9th, 1954. Before being recruited to work at Walt Disney Studios, Miller played football for the Los Angeles Rams. At Disney, Miller served as employee number 6 of the original Disneyland team, with his first role being as a second assistant on Old Yeller. He served as a producer on films such as Tron, Pete's Dragon, The Black Cauldron, and The Fox and the Hound.

Miller became president of Walt Disney Productions in 1978, and the company's CEO in 1983. Under his guidance, Disney created the Touchstone distribution label, Walt Disney Home Video, and The Disney Channel. In 1984, Miller was ousted from his role in the company, and was replaced by Michael Eisner, Frank Wells, and Jeffrey Katzenberg.

“Everyone at The Walt Disney Company is deeply saddened by the passing of Ron Miller." Disney CEO Bob Iger said in a statement. "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.”

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Miller is survived by seven children, thirteen grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.

According to WaltDisney.org, Donations may be made to the memorial fund that The Walt Disney Family Museum has established in honor of Ron and Diane Disney Miller. Donations and cards can also be sent to the family through The Walt Disney Family Museum, attn: Director’s Office; 104 Montgomery Street, San Francisco, CA 94129.