After a long hiatus, welcome back to Disney’s Magic Makers. This week, we’re focusing on Edna Disney.
Edna Francis Disney was born in Reece, Kansas, on January 16, 1890, the third of six children. At a young age, she took many jobs to help support her family. It was during her stint at the Kansas City Times that Edna’s younger brother introduced her to one of his co-workers (who went by the name of Roy O. Disney). Roy won over Edna’s heart at a dance, even though he didn’t know how to dance very well. From that point forward, nothing would separate the pair–even distance.
While Roy recovered from World War I (he was diagnosed with tubercurlosis), Edna and the Francis family served as Walt’s surrogate family as his parents had moved to Oregon (it was during this time that he was struggling with Laugh-O-Gram Studios). When he decided to move out to Hollywood to start a new studio, Roy (who would help with the finances) chose not to be away from his childhood sweetheart anymore and proposed to Edna Francis. The two were married in 1923.
Once the Disney Brothers Studio (later to be known as the Walt Disney Studios) opened, Edna, along with Lillian Bounds Disney (Walt’s wife), became one of the studio’s first “ink girls” in the Ink and Paint Department. In 1930, Roy and Edna had their one and only child-Roy E. Disney.
Edna Francis Disney died December 18, 1984, and was named a Disney Legend in 2003.