Brothers Walt (left) and Roy (right) with Florida governor W. Haydon Burns (center) in November 1965
Current regionSouthern California, U.S.
EtymologyOriginally "d'Isigny" (transl. from Isigny)
Place of originIsigny-sur-Mer

The Disney family is an American family that gained prominence when brothers Roy and Walt began creating films through the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio, today known as mass media and entertainment conglomerate The Walt Disney Company. The Disney family's influence on American culture grew with successful feature films such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937 and the opening of the Disneyland theme park in 1955. Other Disney family members have been involved in the management and administration of the Disney company, filmmaking, and philanthropy.


Effigy of Sir William D'Isney in the parish church of Norton Disney, Lincolnshire

The family name, originally d'Isigny ("from Isigny"), is of Norman French derivation, coming from the town of Isigny-sur-Mer. The Disneys, among others descended from Normans, settled in England and gave their name to Norton Disney in Lincolnshire. Some of the family moved to Ireland around the 11th century.[1]

Elias Disney

Elias Charles Disney (1859–1941) was born in the rural village of Bluevale, Province of Canada (now Ontario, Canada), to Irish Protestant immigrants Kepple Elias Disney (1832–1891) and Mary Richardson (1838–1909). Both parents had emigrated from Ireland to Canada as children, accompanying their parents.[2]

Disney married Flora Call (1868–1938) on January 1, 1888, in Kismet, Lake County, Florida.[3] The couple had five children:[4]

Roy O. Disney family

Roy Oliver Disney (June 24, 1893 – December 20, 1971)[5] was an American businessman and co-founder of The Walt Disney Company. Roy was married to Edna Francis from April 1925 until his death.[6] Roy's nephew Charles Elias Disney chose to name his son Charles Roy Disney in Roy's honor.[7]

Their son, Roy Edward Disney (January 10, 1930 – December 16, 2009[8]), was a longtime senior executive for the Walt Disney Company and the last member of the Disney family to be actively involved in the company. Disney was often compared to his uncle and father. He had two sons (one, Tim Disney, a documentary film producer), and two daughters;[9] his daughter Abigail Disney is a documentary filmmaker.[7][10]

Walt Disney family

Walter Elias Disney (December 5, 1901 – December 15, 1966) was an American entrepreneur, animator, writer, voice actor and film producer who cofounded Disney Brothers Studio with his brother Roy. He received 59 Academy Award nominations, including 22 awards: both totals are records.[11]

He married Lillian Bounds in 1925.[12] They had two daughters, Diane (December 18, 1933 – November 19, 2013) and Sharon (adopted in December 1936, born six weeks previously[13] – February 16, 1993).

Diane married Ronald William Miller, who became president of Walt Disney Productions in 1980 and CEO in 1983, before being ousted by Roy E. Disney.[14]


In 2009, the Walt Disney Family Museum, designed by Disney's daughter Diane and her son (Walt's grandson) Walter E. D. Miller, opened in the Presidio of San Francisco.[15] The museum was established to promote and inspire creativity and innovation and celebrate and study the life of Walt Disney.[16]


  1. ^ "The Lincolnshire village honoured in every Disney film since 2006". BBC News. 16 October 2023.
  2. ^ Barrier, J. Michael (1999). Hollywood Cartoons: American Animation in Its Golden Age. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 3. ISBN 978-0-19-503759-3.
  3. ^ Walt Disney by Neal Gabler - eBook - Random House at www.randomhouse.com
  4. ^ Barrier, J. Michael (1999). Hollywood Cartoons: American Animation in Its Golden Age. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 9–10. ISBN 978-0-19-503759-3.
  5. ^ Jones, Jack (December 21, 1971). "Roy O. Disney". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 24, 2014.
  6. ^ Daniel (August 1, 2009). "Disney's Magic Makers: Edna Francis Disney". Netcot.com. Archived from the original on April 1, 2012. Retrieved October 31, 2012.
  7. ^ a b "Women, War & Peace ~ About the Producers : Wide Angle". PBS.org. January 21, 2009. Retrieved October 22, 2015.
  8. ^ Chmielewski, Dawn C.; Bates, James (December 17, 2009). "Roy Edward Disney dies at 79; nephew of Walt helped revive animation". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on August 12, 2018. Retrieved May 31, 2019.
  9. ^ "Roy E. Disney Dies at 79; Rejuvenated Animation". The New York Times. December 17, 2009.
  10. ^ "About". Fork Films. Retrieved October 22, 2015.
  11. ^ "Nominee Facts – Most Nominations and Awards" (PDF). Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 2, 2016. Retrieved April 26, 2013.
  12. ^ "Walt Disney dies of cancer at 65". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). Associated Press. December 16, 1966. p. 1.
  13. ^ Barrier, J. Michael (1999). Hollywood Cartoons: American Animation in Its Golden Age. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 102, 131. ISBN 978-0-19-503759-3.
  14. ^ Stewart, James (2005). DisneyWar. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-684-80993-1.
  15. ^ "About Us". The Walt Disney Family Museum. Archived from the original on March 30, 2014. Retrieved June 27, 2014.
  16. ^ "The Walt Disney Family Museum Mourns the Loss of Diane Disney Miller". The Walt Disney Family Museum. 2013-11-19. Retrieved 2017-12-09.