Los Angeles, CA, United States (4E) – Ray Watson, long-time executive and adviser of the Walt Disney Company, has passed away the age of 86 due to complications from Parkinson’s disease last Saturday at his home in Newport Beach.
Disney’s current CEO Bob Iger, in a statement to the Hollywood Reporter, said, “On behalf of everyone at Disney, we mourn the loss of Disney legend Ray Watson, a dear friend and trusted adviser.”
Iger’s statement further reads, “Ray’s indelible contributions to Disney’s great legacy began when Walt Disney himself called on Ray for his wise counsel on early plans for Epcot. Throughout his 30-year tenure as a member of the Disney board of directors, Ray exhibited incredible leadership, sound judgment and grace under pressure, particularly during the difficult period in the mid-1980s when he served as our chairman of the board. With deep respect for Ray and his tireless work and great love for Disney, we extend our condolences to his wonderful family.”
Aside from Disney, Seattle-born Watson was also a long-time executive at Irvine Co., starting as an urban planner in the 60s, and eventually becoming president of the company.
Donald Bren, Irvince Co. Chairman, said, “Ray Watson was a gifted man who offered tireless work, boundless energy, creative ideas and persuasive leadership.” Watson is said to always aim to “create places where people would want to live and stay.”
A memorial service for Watson is scheduled on November 11. He is survived by his wife of 48 years, Elsa, their four children Kathy, Bryan, Lisa and David and their spouses, his sister Doris and 10 grandchildren.