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Thursday, November 12, 2015

Ron Miller - My Number 4 pick for a Disney Legend

I know - there are some Disney Buffs who are rolling their eyes and groaning at this choice. But here me out, Ron Miller should definitely be given the Legend honor. 

  1. Ronald William “Ron” Miller was introduced to Diane Disney on a blind date while he was attending USC, where he played left-end on the football team.  After dating for awhile and with the approval of Diane’s parents they were married on May 9th 1954 in Santa Barbara. After playing professional football for awhile, Walt offered Ron a job at the Disney Studios after seeing his son-in-law get hammered on the field by future Hall of Famer Dick "Night Train" Lane. This is a feat in and of itself. He was Walt's son-in-law and he was knocked out by an NFL legend! Did he get the job because of nepotism, yes. But lets look at some of his accomplishment and take a fair assessment of this man.
  2. Let's look at the films he was producer, co-producer  or director or assistant director. some of the highlights include: Old Yellar, Pete's Dragon, Tron, Escape to Witch Mountain, Son of Flubber, That Darn Cat, Summer Magic, The Fox and the Hound, The Black Hole, The North Avenue Irregulars, Small One, The Cat From Outer Space, Hot Lead Cold Feet, The Shaggy DA, Snowball Express and a host of others.
  3. Tron was one of the initial forays into computer animation. Tron alone stands as an argument in favor of Ron Miller being honored.
  4. He won an Emmy in 1971 - "Special Classification of Outstanding Program and Individual Achievement - Programs" – The Wonderful World of Disney.
  5. He became president of Walt Disney Productions in 1978 and CEO in 1983. He was the fifth president and fourth CEO of the company.
  6. He helped to start Touchstone Pictures which produced films not aimed at families. The first film to come from Touchstone was Splash, starring Tom Hanks and directed by Ron Howard.
  7. He oversaw the development and launch of the Disney Channel.
  8. He provided the leadership that led to the opening of Epcot Center and Tokyo Disneyland.
  9. During his tenure at the top, Disney first started releasing films for the home theater via VHS tapes. In 1980 Walt Disney Home Entertainment had its first releases, with Dumbo being the first animated release in 1981.
  10. Disney historian Jim Korkis likes him - see this page.
  11. He is the current President of the Walt Disney Family Museum
  12. Many of the successes of Eisner and Frank Wells can trace their origins back to decisions made under Ron Miller as well as some of his hires.

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