Diane Disney Miller called a new book about her father inaccurate but didn’t specifically deny the author’s claim that Walt Disney was an FBI informant for more than 25 years.
In a statement released Friday, Miller attacked “Walt Disney: Hollywood’s Dark Prince” and chastised media orgs for repeating the book’s statements.
“This conduct is outrageous and has caused me and my family great distress,” Miller said in the statement.
The unauthorized biography by Marc Eliot reports that Disney informed on suspected show business communists for four decades. Eliot says the information comes from government documents.
In those documents, it is shown that Disney reported on the activities of Hollywood actors, writers, producers, directors and union activists, the New York Times reported Thursday.
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 Times reported.
The Walt Disney Co. also issued another response to the book.
“It strikes me as an insult to Walt Disney’s reputation,” company spokesman John Dreyer said. “To me it is an attempt to make a quick buck by trashing a dead man’s reputation.”
Miller also said the book is “grounded in tabloid journalism” and untruthful.
“There are no dark, dirty secrets in my father’s life,” Miller said. “I don’t know why people are so unwilling to believe that he was a decent, hard-working, loving, funny, rather ordinary guy.
“His life was pretty much an open book. He did nothing to deserve this kind of nasty, mean-spirited revisionism. There are too many of us still alive … to let this vicious attack stand.”
Nowhere in her statement, however, did Miller 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 in mid to late June, 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 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.