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Lillian Bounds-Disney 1899 - 1997

Last revised 19/Dec/97.
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Dedicated to the memory of Lillian Bounds-Disney 1899 - 1997

Lillian Disney, the widow of legendary animator and filmmaker Walt Disney, died peacefully in her sleep on Tuesday December 16th 1997 at her home in West Los Angeles at the age of 98 following a stroke she suffered early in the morning of December 15th. Ironically, Walt Disney died thirty-one years ago, early in the morning of December 15, 1966.

She was born Lillian Bounds on an Indian Reservation in Spalding, Idaho in 1899 as the tenth and last child of Jeanette Short Bounds and Willard Pehall Bounds, Lillian grew up in Lapwai, Idaho on the Nez Perce Indian Reservation. Her father worked for the government as a blacksmith and federal marshal.

She moved to Los Angeles in 1923 to join her older sister Hazel. A friend of her sister was working at the fledgling studio of Walt Disney, and told Lillian about a job opening there working for Walt Disney inking animation cels.  Approximately two years later, Lillian and Walt were married on July 13, 1925 in Lewiston, Idaho.

For the next 41 years, Lillian was Walt's helpmate, content to quietly remain in the background, raise two daughters (Diane and Sharon) as her husband ventured into full-length animated films, live action movies and theme parks that would make him and his company internationally known.

Following the death of her husband Walt on Decemebr 15th 1966, Lillian became quite active in a variety of charitable programs, with primary emphasis toward the support of children and the arts. In May 1987, Lillian made a landmark gift of $50 million to the Music Center of Los Angeles County to build a world-class concert hall for the city that had done so much for her and her husband. The Walt Disney Concert Hall, set to open in 2001, will be the permanent home to the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the fourth venue of the Music Center.

Lillian was credited as having named Mickey Mounse, when on a train ride together from New York to Los Angeles, after a serious business setback, Walt came up with a new character: Mortimer Mouse. ``Not Mortimer,'' said his wife. ``It's too formal. How about Mickey?''

Following Walt's death, Lillian remarried three years later, only to be widowed again in 1981. Lillian is survived by one daughter (Diane) as well as ten grandchildren and thirteen great grandchildren. There will be no funeral service. The family asks that, in lieu of flowers, a contribution may be made to St. John's hospital in her name

Statement by Roy E. Disney on the Death of Lillian Disney

Disney Company Press Release

BURBANK, Calif.--(ENTERTAINMENT WIRE)--Dec. 17, 1997--The following is a statement issued by Roy E. Disney on the death of Lillian Disney:

``This really is the end of an era for the Disneys, and it's ironic and somehow fitting that it should be at this time of the year...Walt, in 1966, my dad in 1971, my mother in 1984, and now Lily have all gone during the 10 days before Christmas.

``She was a great lady, full of laughter and fun and always prepared to speak the truth, tough and loving at the same time. Once you knew her, you'd never forget her.

``I always thought of the four of them...Walt and Roy, Lily and Edna...as true pioneers...if life had required them to pull the wagon train across the country, they'd have done it...and done it better than anyone.

``I'm enormously pleased that she was able to know that one of her fondest wishes -- the Walt Disney Concert Hall -- had finally come to be nearly a reality.

``I'm pretty sure that the four of them are together somewhere now, having a wonderful time.''


     The Walt Disney Company
     John Dreyer, 818/560-5300

Statement by Michael D. Eisner on the Death of Lillian Disney

Company Press Release

BURBANK, Calif.--(ENTERTAINMENT WIRE)--Dec. 17, 1997--The following is a statement issued by Michael D. Eisner on the death of Lillian Disney:

``On behalf of all the cast members of The Walt Disney Company,  I wish to extend condolences to the family of Lillian Disney, widow of Walt Disney, co-founder of the company along with his older brother Roy.

``Mrs. Disney was a full-time partner to Walt and we are all grateful for her contributions in the creation of Mickey Mouse and the Disney company and for the example she set for family life and community service. Lillian and Walt Disney and Edna and Roy Disney were pioneers in turning a creative vision through hard work and sacrifice into an American institution. For that, the world is grateful.''


     The Walt Disney Company
     John Dreyer, 818/560-5300



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