The death of 79 year-old Roy Disney puts a symbolic end to the family’s direct involvement in the entertainment juggernaut.
Much like Coca-Cola and McDonald’s, Disney became a 20th century brand name that deeply impacted American culture and substantially influenced ordinary people’s view of the culture around the world.
It’s remarkable in retrospect to consider how three circles arranged in the correct pattern could get pretty much anyone to identify an animated character without any other distinguishing features.
The elder Disney, too, has been memorialized for his impact on the company brand and his business sense. Over the period of 20 years he used his muscle as a powerful board member and shareholder with name recognition to oust his nephew from the chairmanship of the company and, more recently, Michael Eisner. In the process Disney made use of the power and nostalgia associated with the brand name, a marketing tool with few rivals.
For more on Disney’s death, see:
Disneyland guests react to Roy Disney’s death: http://ocresort.freedomblogging.com/2009/12/16/disneyland-guests-react-to-roy-disneys-death/28581/
Roy E. Disney dies of stomach cancer at age 79: http://www.usatoday.com/life/people/2009-12-16-roy-disney_N.htm
Roy E. Disney 1930-2009 (Orlando Sentinel entertainment blog): http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/entertainment_movies_blog/2009/12/roy-e-disney-2009.html