Remembering Roy E. Disney – Book Review

by R.C. Samo



Roy E DisneyIt was not an easy task for Creative Director and Head of Special Projects at Walt Disney Animation Studios, David A. Bossert to sit down and write a book Roy E. Disney. Their relationship transitioning from boss to friend is an interesting story.

We have to start off by saying, this is not a dirty tell all book, or an over romanticized eulogy where Mr. Disney is depicted as being a perfect angel. Remembering Roy E. Disney: Memories and Photos of a Storied Life, is far more of a conversation between Bossert and the reader. The stories he shares are genuine, honest and what Bossert experienced over the last 20 plus years working with Roy E. Disney.

One particular story that sticks out is when Destino, a film that was over 60 years in the making, originally conceptualized between Salvador Dali and Walt Disney, finally was completed in 2003. The film lost at the Academy Awards, and after the event, instead of heading to a fancy after party gala, Roy’s first wife, Patty suggested they go to the local California burger chain, In-and-Out for dinner.

Here are six well dressed, animation executives and a billionaire after the most important award ceremony in the film industry and instead of rubbing elbows with other big-wigs, decide to grab burgers and fries and head back to the Disney family home.

This was no surprise for Disney who understood the value of a dollar, but wasn’t afraid to splurge on various hobbies. Here was a man who could one week be racing in the Transpac (sailing race from the Orange County, California coast to Hawaii) and the next be having hotdogs at Costco, where he actually proposed to his second wife, Leslie.

Roy Patrick Disney and David A. Bossert at the D23 Expo

Not all the stories are light and fluffy, especially an instance in Europe, where Roy E. Disney and first wife Patty, were not seated properly at an official dinner gala for Disneyland Paris. Disney, who was not one to make a scene said ht was fine and the executive felt that everything had smoothed over, the next morning he received a hand delivered not that read, “Never forget that I am Roy captial D, capital I capital S, capital N, capital E, capital Y; D-I-S-N-E-Y, never forget, Roy.” Apparently, it was one of the only times he ever pulled, the “Disney Card.”

Bossert has a way with sharing stories, he is after all, a Disney cast member. He was able to share stories from others in the Disney family about Roy E., including those from Producer Don Hahn, business partner Stanley Gold and director John Lasseter. This book feels more like a group of friends sitting around the dinner table exchanging stories about their boss who was willing to get in the trenches and focus on animation, than a memorial. If you ever wanted to get a feel of what Disney’s family and friends thought of a man who saved his father and uncle’s company TWICE, then this is definitely worth a read.

Remembering Roy E. Disney: Memories and Photos of a Storied Life will be in bookstores Tuesday, September 17, 2013 and can be pre-ordered at

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