Roy O. Disney — eight years Walt’s senior — was always looking after his baby brother. This dynamic started very early on in their relationship. As a youngster, Roy pushed Walt in a baby carriage up and down Chicago streets — he even bought his little brother toys from his own (no doubt meager) funds. In Kansas City, Roy paid the $15 bond required for his brother to start a job with the railroad. After Walt returned home from the Red Cross following the war, Roy helped him land his first professional artist job with the Pesmen-Rubin Commercial Art Studio. Then, despite being on disability and recovering in a veterans’ hospital, Roy lent Walt the money he needed to pay room and board in Los Angeles.
So, when Walt was faced with the challenge of opening an animation studio with no resources, few connections, and very little time, there was one natural person for him to turn to: his faithful, reliable older brother, Roy.
As the story goes, upon receiving word from Winkler that she would order a series of Alice cartoons, an exuberant Walt headed to the veterans’ hospital to share the good news (a little too excitedly — apparently Walt disturbed the nearby recovering vets). Walt pleaded for his brother’s help, “Let’s go, Roy!” Roy, after calmly asking questions to make sure the deal was profitable, agreed, saying, “Okay, Walt, let’s go.”
The following morning, Roy, who had struggled with TB for years, walked out of the veteran’s hospital, never to relapse again.
Roy would go on to outlive his brother by five years, reaching the ripe old age of 78. He lived long enough to personally oversee the opening of his brother’s passion project (which Roy had renamed Walt Disney World in his late brother’s honor) and died shortly thereafter, just days before the anniversary of Walt’s death, on December 20, 1971.
It’s obvious what Walt got out of their partnership — startup money, business expertise, etc. — but I think it’s clear that Roy Disney benefitted too.