Disney Daughter Defends Father, Accused FBI Informer
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A new book about the late Walt Disney is inaccurate, his daughter said Friday. But she did not specifically deny that he ratted on his colleagues to the FBI.
Diane Disney Miller attacked ″Walt Disney: Hollywood’s Dark Prince″ and chastised media organizations for repeating the book’s revelations.
″This conduct is outrageous and has caused me and my family great distress,″ Ms. Miller said in a statement.
The unauthorized biography by Marc Eliot, citing government documents, claims that Disney informed on suspected show business communists for 26 years.
According to The New York Times, the documents show that Disney reported on the activities of Hollywood actors, writers, producers, directors and union activists.
Disney gave FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover scripts and let him make changes in a few movies and an episode of ″The Mickey Mouse Club″ television show, the paper reported in Thursday’s editions.
The Walt Disney Co. also condemned the book.
″It strikes me as an insult to Walt Disney’s reputation,″ said John Dreyer, a company spokesman. ″To me it is an attempt to make a quick buck by trashing a dead man’s reputation.″
Ms. Miller said the book is ″grounded in tabloid journalism″ and untruthful.
″There are no dark, dirty secrets in my father’s life,″ she said in the statement. ″I don’t know why people are so unwilling to believe that he was a decent, hardworking, loving, funny, rather ordinary guy.″
Ms. Miller didn’t specifically address the FBI informer issue. Asked if she had an opinion on those charges, her publicist, Richard Lippin, said, ″You have to treat the statement as it stands.″
Carol Publishing, whose Birch Lane Press imprint will release the book next month, said ″Hollywood’s Dark Prince″ was meticulously reported and checked by lawyers.
″This book is nothing more than an attempt to represent the whole story of this remarkable man,″ said publisher Steven Schragis. He said both Ms. Miller and the Disney company are attacking a book they couldn’t possibly have seen.
″She hasn’t read it. So how can she discredit it?″ Schragis said.