Disney Miller was well-known for her philanthropic work, and was also recognized as one of the inspirations for Disneyland, along with her sister Sharon.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of Diane Disney Miller and our thoughts are with her family during this difficult time,” said Disney president and CEO Bob Iger in a statement. “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.”
On the website for D23 The Official Disney Fan Club, Iger remembered Disney Miller as a “fierce guardian of her father’s legacy” and said the company “remain[s] grateful for her many valuable contributions to our efforts to preserve Disney history.” She was the founder and head of the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco.
Disney Miller also played a key role in the development of the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles which was designed by architect Frank Gehry. As the story goes, when Gehry tried to quit the project Disney Miller told him that the funds from her mother’s gift could not be used to finish the project unless he remained as the architect.
Disney Miller was the only biological daughter of Walt and Lillian Disney. Her sister Sharon – who was adopted at birth by the Disneys in 1936 – died in 1993.
She is survived by her husband Ron Miller, the former CEO of The Walt Disney Company, in addition to seven children.