Sorry to hear that Roy Disney has passed away today. (Interesting to remember that Walt died on Dec. 15, 43 years ago).
I have not seen him since a jovial conversation at a Christmas party three years ago, nor was I aware he was battling stomach cancer, which seems to have been the cause of death. Over the 20 or so years I knew him and he was always affable and down to earth. I remember one morning (right after RESCUERS DOWN UNDER wrapped)passing him on the main lot and I was a bit startled by his cheerful greeting: "Hi Will! How's it going?" -- I looked up and saw him waving his usual cigarette in hand, (tho he gave it up a few years later) and managed to return his greeting as casually as I could. It was just a casual blip but I could not get over the fact that here I was on Disney's fabled campus trading waves with Roy. His oft-remarked uncanny resemblance to Walt made it even more startling.
It is no exaggeration that his fierce protection of the Disney company was a primary and active and ongoing concern for him. The great 80's comeback was his doing and he was every bit as much the champion of the feature animation division, even in the mid-80's when its future was in doubt. He remained that champion through the years that followed and though he tended not to be as minutely "hands-on" as others, he was never simply a figurehead: his involvement and commitment were constant and as I moved into positions of more responsibility that was as obvious as it was welcome from the creative group. He was a genuine, flesh-and-blood link to the ideal we wanted to serve and we were lucky to have his enthusiastic and good-humored support.
My condolences to the family and thanks for the memories.