The last surviving child of the man whose work touched countless other children has died. Diane Disney Miller was 79 years old.
We all know her father, Walt, but Diane played a pretty big role in the Disney legacy too: her father came up with the idea of Disneyland while taking her and her sister, Sharon (who died in 1993), to a merry-go-round, according to the AP. Her husband, Ron Miller, was the CEO of Walt Disney Productions from 1983 to 1984.
In her later years, according to the Los Angeles Times, she took on the mayor of Los Angeles to keep Frank Gehry on as the architect for what would become the Walt Disney Concert Hall, which opened in 2003. In 2009, she co-founded the Walt Disney Family Museum.
Last year, she spoke fondly of her father to the Huffington Post, saying:
No one understands that he was really a dad. He drove my sister and me to school every morning. Every weekend, either Saturday or Sunday, he'd say it was Daddy's day, where he'd take us all day to the local park where they had a beautiful carousel or take us to the studio -- we'd run around the studio on weekends when there was nobody there, we'd go into every animation room and prowl around the lot. He was really a dad. He went to every school function, every Father's Night.
Disney's current president and CEO Robert Iger said of Miller:
As the beloved daughter of Walt Disney and one of his inspirations for creating Disneyland, she holds a special place in the history of the Walt Disney Company and in the hearts of fans everywhere. She will be remembered for her grace and generosity and tireless work to preserve her father’s legacy, and she will be greatly missed by all who knew her.
Miller was injured in a fall in September and never recovered. She died at her home in Napa, and is survived by her husband of almost 60 years and their seven children.