Ron and Diane Get Married
Diane Disney met Ron Miller on a blind date while they were students at the University of Southern California. On May 9, 1954, they married, and spent nearly 60 years together, raising seven children. Along with their family, they founded The Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco, which opened in October 2009. In an interview with Peter Martin in 1956, Diane tells the story of the day that she and Ron married:
“It was really funny. We talked about getting married just sort of casually like any anybody does when they are going together for any period of time. Mother and Dad had never approved or never particularly liked anybody that I had been serious about. They seemed to love Ron for some strange reason. They hadn’t seen much of him, maybe that’s why they liked him. Ron didn’t like to hang around here much. One night, I was waiting for Ron to pick me up and Mother and Dad said to me very casually, ‘Diane if you feel that want to get married, you can do it if you want to. We feel you’re ready to and Ron’s a nice guy. We think this might be it for you. It would be a shame to wait, maybe you two would never get together again.’ I practically fell through the floor. So unexpected, so unlike both of them. Daddy, anytime we would mention getting married always got very sentimental about it, strongly advised us to never get married, until we were 25. This was a complete reversal to everything he’d ever said up to that point. I was just about twenty. Ron was facing the dread of the army. He thought he would be drafted and be away for two years and didn’t know what might happen then. We might never see each other again. Daddy seemed to think that Ron was the guy and if we waited too long we might lose each other. So I told Ron and he looked at me with this funny look as if, ‘My God, I’m trapped!’ And that was that. The next time he came to the house for dinner for the first time I believe, it was several days after that, Mother and Dad walked into the room and said, ‘We hear you want to get married!’
“Daddy did want a wedding with all the sentimental things that belonged to a wedding. After all, he has two daughters and that’s something every father looks forward to with his daughters. He had envisioned leading me down a long-flowered aisle and giving me, his radiant daughter, away at a beautiful formal wedding. The way we wanted it was a small wedding. So we had a small wedding at a very sweet little church in Santa Barbara. The wedding couldn’t have been any better. Daddy naturally led me down the aisle and stood with me. At an Episcopal ceremony, he stands with you until the minister says, ‘Who gives this woman to be married?’ and says, ‘Your mother and I do.’ And I heard this sob behind me, before it came Daddy’s turn to say his part, I heard this sob and I turned around and Daddy was standing back there, tears running down his cheeks. I squeezed his hand and he gave me soulful look.
“Ron was giggling through the ceremony and I think we were both sort of nervous. You either cry or you giggle. So we were giggling. After the ceremony he kissed me so quickly that he picked me off my feet and threw me down. He dragged me out of the church so fast but as we left, we walked by Daddy, he was standing there with a look in his face, very determined to be a sad face. Daddy has to be sentimental, he loves to be. I think it’s wonderful that he does, makes him so darling. He really felt very deeply. But at the reception he was his old gay self. Daddy was on his tiptoes for the photographers because Ron’s so tall. We had a lovely buffet supper and afterwards the champagne was flowing and everybody was very happy.
“Ever since we’ve been married, Daddy’s done everything he could to make things easier for us. It’s been wonderful. The only thing we’ve ever been able to do to repay him is to give him his grandchildren. Probably all that we really ever can do that’s tangible.”