Walt Disney’s Daughter, Diane Disney Miller, Dies

She was an inspiration for the original Disneyland theme park, which opened in Anaheim, Calif. in 1955

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Diane Disney Miller, daughter of Walt Disney speaks at Disneyland's 50th Anniversary rededication ceremony held at Disneyland on July 17, 2005 in Anaheim, California

Diane Disney Miller, the daughter of Walt Disney, has died Tuesday at her home in Napa, Calif. at age 79. Walt Disney said that going to parks with Miller, along with her sister, inspired him to build Disneyland — a place he could enjoy with his daughters. Miller was also known for her instrumental role in ensuring that architect Frank Gehry completed the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, THR reports.

Miller was the only biological daughter of Walt Disney and Lillian Bounds Disney. Her sister, Sharon Mae, was adopted and died in 1993. Miller’s husband, Ron W. Miller, was CEO of the Walt Disney Company unitl 1984 when he was replaced by Michael Eisner and Frank Wells, in a move championed by her cousin, Roy E. Disney.

Gehry had abandoned the concert hall project in 1997, saying his firm was too inexperienced to execute the curves in its design, when Miller insisted that he be the one to finish it. Miler was also the founder and head of the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco. Miller’s husband and seven children survive her.

Disney CEO Robert Iger commented on news of Miller’s death that, “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 Co. and in the hearts of fans everywhere,” as reported by the Associated Press. “She will be remembered for her grace and generosity and tireless work to preserve her father’s legacy.”