While Walt was the creative man, Roy was the one who made sure the company was financially stable; Roy and Walt both founded Disney Studios as brothers, but Walt would buy out most of Roy's share in 1929 and, unlike Max and Dave Fleischer of rival Fleischer Studios, Roy was not a co-producer. Roy became the company's first CEO in 1929, although the official title was not given until 1968. He also shared the role of Chairman of the Board with Walt from 1945 until Walt dropped the Chairman title in 1960 so he could focus more on the creative aspects of the company. After Walt Disney's death in 1966, Roy's role in the company naturally expanded and he postponed his retirement to oversee the construction of California Institute of the Arts and what was then known as Disney World, and later renamed it Walt Disney World as a tribute to his brother. Roy became the president of Walt Disney Productions on December 15, 1966, and remained so until 1968.
Roy was married to Edna Francis, born January 16, 1890, death December 18, 1984, from April 1925 until his death; their only child Roy Edward Disney, was born on January 10, 1930. Throughout his life, Roy rejected the publicity and fame that came with being Walt's brother. He was extremely camera shy, and a passive individual resulting in few public photos being in existence.
Those of us who love Walt Disney World owe an immense debt of gratitude to Roy O. Disney. He was a selfless man who in turn needs to be given the proper gratitude. In a letter to his niece in 1969, Roy wrote “ . . . we miss Walt very much around here. I only wish he had been given another ten years to reap some of the rewards of all the labor of forty years before. Certainly all that this company is today is rightfully attributed to Walt’s ideas and drive.” Roy Disney's will, determination and selflessness to see Walt's vision come true was amazing. Thank you Roy for creating one of the most magical places on the planet and making this piece of history possible: