Anne J. Sweeney, Mother of Ex-Disney Exec Anne Sweeney, Dies at 85

Anne J. Sweeney Obit - P 2016
Courtesy of Anne M. Sweeney

She was a schoolteacher for many years in upstate New York.

Anne J. Sweeney, the mother of former top Walt Disney Co. executive Anne Sweeney, died Dec. 11 in Los Angeles. She was 85.

A native of Wilkes-Barre, Pa., the elder Sweeney moved to New York’s Hudson Valley in the mid-1950s and taught in the city of Hudson and later in the Kingston Consolidated School District for 18 years. She taught second grade at the Elisha M. Brigham Elementary School and at Chambers Elementary School.

Her daughter said that she did all the voices when reading Charlotte’s Web aloud to her students and offered them lessons in “SC” (self control). Her mantra was, “Life is Choices.”

She received her bachelor of science degree from the State University of New York Teacher’s College at Oswego in 1951, where she was president of the Newman Club. She completed her student teaching in Baldwinsville, N.Y., and began her formal career in Liverpool, N.Y.  

Her husband, Donald E. Sweeney Sr., who also was an educator, died in 2014 at age 88.

Anne Sweeney, who recently ended her stint as co-chair of Disney Media Networks and President of the Disney-ABC Television Group, joined the board of directors at Netflix last year.

In addition to her daughter and her husband, Philip Miller, survivors include children Donald and Rosemary (and her husband, Robert); grandchildren Christopher, Rosemary, Michaela, Shelagh, Catherine, Elizabeth and Brigid; cousin Rita; and many nieces and nephews.

A funeral mass took place Dec. 16 at St. Monica’s Catholic Church, followed by a burial service at Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City.

Donations can be made to the Donald E. and Anne J. Sweeney Memorial Scholarship Fund; St. Monica Catholic Schools; 1030 Lincoln Blvd.; Santa Monica, CA 90043.