A family feud over a $400 million trust fund, a massive fortune that left one heiress with an inferiority complex, and a sprawling media empire: Meet the Disney family
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- The Walt Disney Company is worth an estimated $130 billion.
- The Disney family's fortune isn't known, but they own less than 3% of the company, according to Walt Disney's grand-nephew, Roy P.
- Two of Walt Disney's grandchildren became embroiled in a feud over their trust funds.
- Most of the Disney family members have stayed out of the business and have collectively donated millions to charity.
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The Walt Disney Company has come a long way since it was founded by brothers Walt and Roy O. Disney nearly a century ago. What began as a cartoon studio is now a media powerhouse, complete with amusement parks and properties.
But for all its success, the family behind "The Happiest Place On Earth" has largely stayed out of the limelight and the business. While it's not known just how much the family is worth, GOBankingRates estimated the company's net worth to be $130 billion. Roy O.'s grandson, Roy P. previously said the family owns less than 3% of the company, but assuming it is approximately that amount would put their fortune around $3.9 billion (not counting any investments in addition to Disney holdings).
From a family trust fund feud to generous philanthropic endeavors, here's a look at the three generations of the Disney family.
The family has not responded to multiple attempts to reach them for comment.
Disney cofounder Walt Disney wanted to be a cartoonist since high school, taking extracurricular art classes at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts.
By the late 1950s, Walt had created a family entertainment world complete with movies, TV shows, and an amusement park.
Today, Disney is one of the biggest media companies in the world, with an estimated net worth of nearly $130 billion. It was named the No. 1 best-regarded company in 2018 by Forbes.
It's unknown how much the Disney family is worth today, but Walt has been described as a "family man" who tried to provide a normal life for his family.
Walt and Lillian had two main residences, both in California.
Walt's older daughter, Diane, married Ronald Miller in 1954 and had seven children, who were reportedly relatively quiet with their side of the family fortune.
Walt's younger daughter, Sharon, adopted one child, Victoria, with her first husband, Robert Brown. She then had twins, Brad and Michelle, with her second husband, Bill Lund.
Sharon's twins later became embroiled in a multiple-year feud over their $400 million trust fund.
On the other side of the family, Roy O. and wife Edna Francis gave birth to Roy E. Disney in 1930, who later became a senior executive for The Walt Disney Company.
Roy E.'s daughter Abigail started feeling uneasy about her family's wealth by the time she reached her 20s.
Abigail's brother, Roy P., said in an interview that by 1960, Walt and Roy O. owned about 20% of the company — today, the whole family owns less than 3% of the company.
While Walt and Roy O. kept their families in harmony, the two families were reportedly never close and drew even further apart after Roy O.'s death in 1971.
Most of the Disney family has shied away from corporate affairs, instead displaying their wealth and power philanthropically, according to Gardner.
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