5 secrets about Disney revealed in Bob Iger's book

When Disney CEO Bob Iger began working on his memoir, “The Ride of a Lifetime,” he thought that when it came out, he would no longer be CEO of Disney. He also thought it might end up coming out as he was amid a 2020 presidential run.

Disney’s (DIS) gargantuan $71.3 billion acquisition of Fox changed those expectations. Iger promised Rupert Murdoch, when they hammered out the deal, that he’d extend his tenure as Disney CEO through 2021 to oversee the integration.

Iger’s new book, which was published by Random House in September, is packaged like a standard businessperson success story, but it contains a lot of surprisingly candid reflections, and quite a few news nuggets that were not previously publicly known.

The ABC/Disney lifer speaks intimately in the book about the multiple times he almost left ABC along the way, like when Cap Cities, a much smaller local television company, bought ABC in 1985, and when Disney acquired ABC in 1995. He paints talent agent Michael Ovitz’s 15-month tenure at Disney as disastrous. He recalls times when ABC’s television lineup was flailing, and when Disney Animation’s film pipeline was flailing. And deal enthusiasts get a lot of meat about Iger’s four defining moves as Disney CEO: acquiring Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, and Fox.

Here are five revealing moments from Iger’s book.

1. Michael Eisner was staunchly against the Pixar acquisition (2006)

Iger was named Disney CEO in March 2005 and immediately moved to make a big acquisition to boost Disney’s creative content. He landed on Pixar, at the time its own publicly traded company (with a market cap of around $6 billion), because Disney Animation had put out a slew of duds, and Pixar had a stream of hits, including “Toy Story 2,” “Monsters Inc.,” “Finding Nemo” and “The Incredibles.”

In January 2006, after Iger had spoken extensively about the deal with Steve Jobs, John Lasseter, and Ed Catmull, he had to go to the Disney board with the plan. Iger decided to have the Pixar trio address the Disney board directly, and he writes that he thought it went well: “The moment Steve, John, and Ed started talking, everyone in the room was transfixed.”

Before the board could vote, Iger got a call from Michael Eisner, his predecessor and his direct boss for five years while Iger was COO. Eisner was no longer even a board member, but still held sway with people on the board. “Bob, you can’t do this. It’s the stupidest thing in the world... You can fix Animation. You don’t need them to do it,” Iger recalls Eisner saying.

“It was the same list of concerns,” Iger writes. “It was too expensive, too risky. Bringing Steve [Jobs] into the company would be a disaster.”

Iger was annoyed. “Michael had been out of the company for four months. His connection with Disney had ended on his last day at work... I was offended by his meddling.”

The board eventually voted nine in favor of the Pixar deal and two against, and the vote did not need to be unanimous. Disney announced its $7.4 billion purchase of Pixar on Jan. 24, 2006.

Iger writes that Eisner “years later” admitted he was wrong about the Pixar acquisition.

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HOLLYWOOD, CA - DECEMBER 10: The Walt Disney Company Chairman and CEO Bob Iger attends the premiere of Walt Disney Pictures and Lucasfilm's 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' at the Pantages Theatre on December 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - CIRCA 1980: Bob Iger; 4th Annual Friends Finding A Cure Gala Benefiting Project ALS; Walt Disney Studios, CA; 04/29/2004 (Photo by Vinnie Zuffante/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MARCH 12: Bob Iger and Willow Bay attending Key To Life Gala at Pierre Hotel. (Photo by Richard Corkery/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
Bob Iger during 4th Annual Friends Finding A Cure Gala Benefiting Project ALS at Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California, United States. (Photo by Gregg DeGuire/WireImage)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - MAY 8: Disney's Bob Iger and writer/producer Mark Zakarin pose at the afterparty for the premiere of Miramax's 'Keeping up with the Steins' at the Pacific Design Center on May 8, 2006 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Bob Iger, President and CEO of The Walt Disney Cie attends the ceremony to honor movie mogul Michael D. Eisner by a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Hollywood, California, April 25, 2008. AFP PHOTO GABRIEL BOUYS (Photo credit should read GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 25: Disney's Bob Iger arrives at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society's 34th Annual Dinner of Champions held at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel on September 25, 2008 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
Robert 'Bob' Iger, president and chief executive officer of Walt Disney Co., leaves the morning session at Sun Valley, Idaho, U.S., on Wednesday, July 6, 2011. Media executives gather at Allen & Co.'s Sun Valley conference this week looking to shed assets such as the Hulu LLC video website and G4 game channel amid a declining global stock market and slowing economic growth. Photographer: Peter Foley/Bloomberg via Getty Images
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 14: Bob Iger, chairman and chief executive officer of Walt Disney Co. attends Unveiling Moment At Barneys New York & Disney Electric Holiday Spectacular With Sarah Jessica Parker, Bob Iger, and Mark Lee on November 14, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Barneys New York)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - APRIL 04: Chairman and CEO of Conservation International Peter Seligmann and Chairman and CEO of the Walt Disney Company Bob Iger attend Conservation International's 17th Annual Los Angeles Dinner at Montage Beverly Hills on April 4, 2013 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/WireImage)
Robert 'Bob' Iger, chairman and chief executive officer of Walt Disney Co., arrives at the Sun Valley Lodge ahead of the Allen & Co. Media and Technology Conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, U.S., on Tuesday, July 8, 2014. Billionaires, chief executive officers, and leaders from the technology, media, and finance industries will gather this week at the Idaho mountain resort conference hosted by investment banking firm Allen & Co. Photographer: Scott Eells/Bloomberg via Getty Images
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 12: Bob Iger, chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company attends the dedication ceremony as ABC News headquarters in New York is proclaimed 'The Barbara Walters Building' ABC News Headquarters Dedication Ceremony on May 12, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)
Robert 'Bob' Iger, chief executive officer of The Walt Disney Co., arrives for a morning session during the Allen & Co. Media and Technology Conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, U.S., on Friday, July 10, 2015. Billionaires, chief executive officers, and leaders from the technology, media, and finance industries gather this week at the Idaho mountain resort conference hosted by investment banking firm Allen & Co. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Walt Disney Company chairman and CEO Bob Iger speaks in front of a model of the new Shanghai Disney Resort during a press event in Shanghai on July 15, 2015. US entertainment giant Disney gave the first detailed preview to the media for its planned theme park in Shanghai, promising Chinese features and new attractions unlike its five other resorts, executives said. AFP PHOTO / JOHANNES EISELE (Photo credit should read JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)
BOULDER, CO - SEPT 1: THESE PHOTOS ARE EMBARGOED UNTIL 12:01 A.M. FRIDAY, SEPT. 4, 2015. DO NOT PUBLISH UNTIL THEN. Sphero CEO Paul Barbarian show's off his company's new robotic toy based on the droid BB8 from the upcoming new movie Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Disney president Bob Iger asked the Boulder company to make the toy based on the character from the movie which opens in theaters on Dec. 18, 2015. (Photo by Kathryn Scott Osler/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
Chairman and CEO of Walt Disney Bob Iger holds a press conference at Shanghai Disney Resort in Shanghai on June 15, 2016. The Magic Kingdom comes to the Middle Kingdom this week when Disney opens its first theme park in mainland China, betting the growing middle class will spend big on leisure despite a slowing economy. / AFP / JOHANNES EISELE (Photo credit should read JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)
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2. George Lucas wanted more money for Lucasfilm (2012)

In May 2011, Iger had lunch with George Lucas after a rededication ceremony for “Star Tours” at Disney World in Orlando, Fla., and Iger raised the possibility of Lucas selling his company. Lucas was not ready to sell at the time, but was open to the idea of it happening down the road.

Seven months later, Lucas called Iger and said he was ready to talk. This time, they met for lunch at Disney Studios in Burbank, Calif. Lucas, Iger writes, promptly declared that he wanted “the Pixar deal.’”

The Pixar deal was $7.4 billion. “We already sensed Lucasfilm was potentially quite valuable for us,” Iger writes, “but it wasn’t worth $7.4 billion.” Pixar had six movies already in production when Disney bought it, plus a large staff of engineers, writers, directors, and animators. Lucasfilm had no directors other than George Lucas, and “no film development or production pipeline, as far as we knew... In George’s mind, Lucasfilm was as valuable as Pixar, but even from our relatively uninformed analysis, they weren’t.”

Iger and other Disney senior execs brainstormed what Disney might be able to launch and sell if it owned Lucasfilm, “which was pure conjecture” at that point, Iger acknowledges. They looked at Lucasfilm’s special effects business, its licensing deals for toys and other merchandise, and most importantly concluded that if they moved quickly they could put out a new “Star Wars” movie within three years, in 2015, and put out another in 2017 and another in 2019.

Iger called Lucas and said Disney could pay between $3.5 billion and $3.75 billion. Lucas had “come way down” from the Pixar price, but still “was not going to accept anything lower than Marvel,” Iger writes. (In 2009, Disney had bought Marvel for $4 billion.) They settled on $4.05 billion—symbolically “slightly above what we paid for Marvel,” Iger writes.

The deal went through, but that wasn’t the end of disagreements between Lucas and Disney. When Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy screened “The Force Awakens” for Lucas privately, he was unhappy. Iger disagreed and was very pleased with the direction in which JJ Abrams had taken the film. He still wanted Lucas to attend the “Force Awakens” premiere, and Lucas did, and it went well. But after the film came out (and quickly smashed records for the biggest opening weekend ever), an interview Lucas did with Charlie Rose came out in which Lucas said the “Star Wars” movies were like “his kids” and he felt he had sold them to “white slavers,” i.e. Disney. Iger writes that he “decided to stay quiet and let it pass.”

Lucas’s wife Mellody Hobson sent Iger an apology email, and later, Lucas called and did the same.

3. Bob Iger changed his mind on buying Twitter at the last minute, Jack Dorsey was ‘stunned’ (2016)

After the “dust settled,” as Iger writes, on three giant acquisitions of content companies (Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm), Disney wanted to buy a technology platform. It looked at buying Snapchat, Spotify, and Twitter. “They were all digestible in terms of size,” Iger writes.

Disney landed on Twitter and expressed interest to Twitter in 2016, but that prompted Twitter to court other offers, so Disney “reluctantly entered into an auction” to buy Twitter, and came to terms. (Iger confirmed in 2017 rumors that Disney had considered buying Twitter, but he did not say why; he was cagey and only said, “We decided ultimately not to go in that direction.”) Twitter’s board approved the deal, and Disney’s board approved it on a Friday in October 2016.

The next day, Iger writes, “I decided not to go through with it. Something inside me didn’t feel right... There were brand-related issues that gnawed at me.”

Iger says he noted “controversies” with Twitter that troubled him, including “how to manage hate speech... what to do about fake accounts algorithmically spewing out political ‘messaging’ to influence elections, and the general rage and lack of civility that was sometimes evident on the platform.” (Just last month, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced Twitter would no longer allow political advertising.)

Twitter’s problems, Iger writes, “would become our problems. They were so unlike any we’d encountered, and I felt they would be corrosive to the Disney brand.” He called Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, who “was stunned, but very polite.”

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Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey through the years
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Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey through the years
DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 12: Jack Dorsey, Chairman of Twitter and CEO of Square, speaks with the media after speaking at TECHONOMYDETROIT September 12, 2012 in Detroit, Michigan. The event, hosted by the Detroit Economic Club, is a one-day multidisciplinary gathering of national and local leaders about reigniting U.S. competitiveness, creating jobs, and revitalizing our cities in a technologized age. (photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
Jack Dorsey, co-founder and chairman of Twitter Inc. and founder and chief executive officer of Square Inc., pauses while he speaks to the media at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S., on Monday, Sept. 24, 2012. Square Inc., the mobile payment startup founded by Dorsey, is giving small merchants more flexibility in how they pay for credit-card transactions, increasing competition with PayPalâs rival card reader. Photographer: Scott Eisen/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Jack Dorsey, co-founder and chairman of Twitter Inc. and co-founder and chief executive officer of Square Inc., stands for a photo following an interview at Just Baked Cupcakes in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., on Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2013. Twitter Inc., which announced plans last week for an initial public offering, is still deciding whether to list on the New York Stock Exchange or Nasdaq Stock Market, setting off a horse race for the high-profile deal. Photographer: Jeff Kowalsky/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Jack Dorsey, chairman and co-founder of Twitter Inc., speaks during a Bloomberg West Television interview in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Friday, May 17, 2013. Twitter is expanding into smartphones and other wireless products, seeking to boost the number of users and advertisers. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 23: Creator of Twitter Jack Dorsey (R) attends the 2013 Time 100 Gala at Frederick P. Rose Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center on April 23, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Jennifer Graylock/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - Twitter Chairman and Square CEO Jack Dorsey moderates a panel discussion with Detroit entrepreneurs at Techonomy Detroit at Wayne State University September 17, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. The topic of the discussion was 'Turbocharging Detroit's Teconomy.' (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
Jack Dorsey, chairman and co-founder of Twitter Inc., center, speaks as New York City Mayor Michael 'Mike' Bloomberg, right, and San Francisco Mayor Edward 'Ed' Lee listen during a press conference in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Friday, June 14, 2013. Dorsey, Mayor Bloomberg and Mayor Lee announced today that they will co-host the second annual Bloomberg Technology Summit to be held in New York on September 30. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
SQUAWK ON THE STREET -- Pictured: Dick Costolo and Jack Dorsey in an interview at CNBC's San Francicso bureau, on June 12, 2015 -- (Photo by: John Chiala/CNBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Jack Dorsey, interim chief executive officer and co-founder of Twitter Inc., left, talks with Venture capitalist Aviv 'Vivi' Nevo while arriving for a morning session during the Allen & Co. Media and Technology Conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, U.S., on Thursday, July 9, 2015. Billionaires, chief executive officers, and leaders from the technology, media, and finance industries gather this week at the Idaho mountain resort conference hosted by investment banking firm Allen & Co. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Jack Dorsey, CEO of Square, Chairman of Twitter and a founder of both ,holds an event in London on November 20, 2014, where he announced the launch of Square Register mobile application. The app, which is available on Apple and Android devises, will allow merchants to track sales, inventories and other data on smartphones and tablets. AFP PHOTO / JUSTIN TALLIS (Photo credit should read JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - MAY 18: Co-Chair & Founder of Twitter, Jack Dorsey attends Sierra Club's 125th Anniversary Trail Blazers Ball at the Palace of Fine Arts on May 18, 2017 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Steve Jennings/WireImage)
Jack Dorsey, co-founder of Twitter Inc. and founder and chief executive officer of Square Inc., right, and Suzanne McKechnie Klahr, founder and chief executive officer of BUILD, stand for a photograph during the 2014 BUILD Gala in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Saturday, March 1, 2014. BUILD is an innovative, college preparatory program, whose mission is to use entrepreneurship to direct low-income high school students to college and careers. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 21: CEO of Twitter and Square Jack Dorsey accepts the award for CEO of the Year onstage during the Thurgood Marshall College Fund 28th Annual Awards Gala at Washington Hilton on November 21, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Teresa Kroeger/Getty Images for Thurgood Marshall College Fund)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 19: Square CEO Jack Dorsey (R) demonstrates the Square payment system for House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) while touring the Square headquarters on August 19, 2013 in San Francisco, California. Senators Max Baucus (D-MT) and Dave Camp (R-MI) continued their Tax Reform Tour with a visit to the headquarters of mobile payment company Square. The tour is taking the two senators across the nation to speak to American people about how to fix the nation's broken tax code to benefit families and job creators. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 21: CEO of Twitter and Square Jack Dorsey accepts the award for CEO of the Year onstage during the Thurgood Marshall College Fund 28th Annual Awards Gala at Washington Hilton on November 21, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Teresa Kroeger/Getty Images for Thurgood Marshall College Fund)
Jack Dorsey, co-founder and chief executive officer of Twitter Inc., listens during an interview in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Thursday, March 2, 2017. Electronic-payment company, Square Inc., run by Dorsey, is offering a range of new services, including loans and software that lets customers manage inventory and analyze sales. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Jack Dorsey, Chairman of Twitter and CEO of Square speaks at a conference of the New Economy Summit 2013 in Tokyo on April 16, 2013. Entrepreneurs of information technology (IT) and online business on April 16 gathered at a one-day conference, hosted by Japan Association of New Economy (JANE), led by Japanese electronic commerce giant Rakuten's Hiroshi Mikitani. AFP PHOTO / Yoshikazu TSUNO (Photo credit should read YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 15: Nicholas Thompson (L) and Jack Dorsey speak onstage at WIRED25 Summit: WIRED Celebrates 25th Anniversary With Tech Icons Of The Past & Future on October 15, 2018 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for WIRED25 )
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 15: Jack Dorsey attends WIRED25 Summit: WIRED Celebrates 25th Anniversary With Tech Icons Of The Past & Future on October 15, 2018 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for WIRED25 )
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 15: Jack Dorsey speaks onstage at WIRED25 Summit: WIRED Celebrates 25th Anniversary With Tech Icons Of The Past & Future on October 15, 2018 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for WIRED25 )
Jack Dorsey, co-founder and chief executive officer of Twitter Inc., speaks during a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2018. Republicans pressed Dorsey for what they said may be the 'shadow-banning' of conservatives during the hearing. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 5: Twitter chief executive officer Jack Dorsey testifies during a House Committee on Energy and Commerce hearing about Twitter's transparency and accountability, on Capitol Hill, September 5, 2018 in Washington, DC. Earlier in the day, Dorsey faced questions from the Senate Intelligence Committee about how foreign operatives use their platforms in attempts to influence and manipulate public opinion. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 5: Twitter chief executive officer Jack Dorsey testifies during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing concerning foreign influence operations' use of social media platforms, on Capitol Hill, September 5, 2018 in Washington, DC. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg faced questions about how foreign operatives use their platforms in attempts to influence and manipulate public opinion. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
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Instead of buying Twitter, Disney exercised its option to buy a controlling stake in MLB Advanced Media’s spun-off video business BAM Tech, one year after it spent $1 billion for a 33% stake. BAM Tech would become crucial in powering ESPN+ and Disney+.

4. Iger personally made the decision to fire Roseanne Barr and cancel her show (2018)

In May 2018, just two months after ABC brought back “Roseanne” and it premiered to huge ratings, the show’s star Roseanne Barr sent a tweet that called Valerie Jarrett, former adviser to President Obama, the “baby” of “Muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes.” The tweet was widely condemned as racist and inexcusable, though Barr later claimed she thought Valerie Jarrett was white.

Iger powwowed with a cadre of Disney and ABC Entertainment executives, and they discussed “a variety of responses which ranged from a suspension and loss of pay to a severe warning and public rebuke.” While the other executives “didn’t mention firing her, I knew it was in the backs of their minds,” Iger writes.

Ultimately, Iger himself decided they had to fire Barr and cancel the show. He reasoned that, “If any of our employees tweeted what she tweeted, they’d be immediately terminated.” He adds in the book, “It was an easy decision, really. I never asked what the financial repercussions would be, and didn’t care.”

Iger says he received calls of praise from Patriots owner Bob Kraft and President Obama, among others—but “I was attacked on Twitter by President Trump, who asked where my apology was for him and said something about the ‘horrible’ statements we’d made about him while reporting the news on ABC.”

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Roseanne Barr through the years
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Roseanne Barr through the years
THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JOHNNY CARSON -- Air Date 11/06/1985 -- Pictured: Comedian Roseanne Barr performs on November 6, 1985 (Photo by Gene Arias/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Episode 13 -- Pictured: Roseanne Barr as operator during 'MetroCard' skit on February 16, 1991 -- (Photo by: Alan Singer/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
ROSEANNE - 'Pretty in Black' which aired on October 13, 1992. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images) ROSEANNE BARR
THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO -- Episode 10/30/1995 -- Pictured: (l-r) Actress Roseanne Barr during an interview with host Jay Leno on October 30, 1995 -- (Photo by: Margaret Norton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
375669 01: 1998 Roseanne Barr Of The Roseanne Show. (Photo By Getty Images)
1998 Roseanne Barr Of The Roseanne Show. (Photo By Getty Images)
E364920 03: Comedienne Roseanne Barr poses with her husband Ben Thomas at the launch of her new CD titled 'I Just Can''t Help Myself' at the Tower Records store in Hollywood, California, February 21, 2000. The star performed with her band 'DiXXX' whom her husband is a member. (Photo by Chris Martinez)
382709 04: Actress Roseanne Barr and her husband Ben Thomas arrive at Project Angel Food''s Eight Annual 'Devine Design' Galla at the Pacific Design Center November 30, 2000 in West Hollywood, CA. The events proceeds go directly to Project Angel Food which provides free nutritional counseling and life-sustaining meals each day to 1,2000 men, women and children disabled by HIV/AIDS. (Photo byNewsmakers)
385218 39: Actress Roseanne Barr attends February 5, 2001 at the Lane Bryant fashion show at Studio 54 in New York City. (Photo by George De Sota/Newsmakers)
LAS VEGAS, NV - NOVEMBER 18: Comedian/actress Roseanne Barr poses at the 'Comic Relief 2006' show at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace November 18, 2006 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The benefit was held to help families in the Gulf Coast affected by Hurricane Katrina. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD - OCTOBER 23: Actress Roseanne Barr (L) with actor Will Ferrell (R) and wife Viveca Paulin arrive at the premiere of 'Borat: Cultural Learnings Of America' held at the Grauman's Chinese Theatre on October 23, 2006 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - AUGUST 04: Actress/writer Roseanne Barr arrives at the Comedy Central Roast of Roseanne Barr at Hollywood Palladium on August 4, 2012 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - AUGUST 04: Roastee Roseanne Barr onstage during the Comedy Central Roast of Roseanne Barr at Hollywood Palladium on August 4, 2012 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - MARCH 10: Actress Roseanne Barr attends The Paley Center For Media's 2014 PaleyFest Icon Award announcement at The Paley Center for Media on March 10, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 18: (EDITORS NOTE: This image was processed using digital filters) Roseanne Barr attends the world premiere of documentary: 'Roseanne For President!' during the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival at SVA Theatre on April 18, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Grant Lamos IV/Getty Images for the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - MARCH 10: Actress Roseanne Barr attends The Paley Center For Media's 2014 PaleyFest Icon Award announcement at The Paley Center for Media on March 10, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - MARCH 23: Actress Roseanne Barr attends the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival LA Kickoff Reception at The Standard, Hollywood on March 23, 2015 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Mike Windle/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - NOVEMBER 23: Roseanne Barr (L) attends the cinema prive And PANDORA Jewelry Host A Special Screening Of 'Cake' on November 23, 2014 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Araya Diaz/Getty Images for cinema prive)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 18: Roseanne Barr (C) and children Jake Pentland (L) and Brandi Brown attend the world premiere of documentary: 'Roseanne For President!' during the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival at SVA Theatre on April 18, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 01: Actress Roseanne Barr attends the photo call for Roseanne Barr's 'Roseanne For President!' at Sundance Sunset Cinema on July 01, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Boardman/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 01: Actress Roseanne Barr attends the photo call for Roseanne Barr's 'Roseanne For President!' at Sundance Sunset Cinema on July 1, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Tommaso Boddi/WireImage,,)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 07: Roseanne Barr attends The 75th Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 7, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 07: Actors John Goodman (L) and Roseanne Barr celebrate The 75th Annual Golden Globe Awards with Moet & Chandon at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 7, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Moet & Chandon)
PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 08: Roseanne Barr attends the Disney ABC Television Group hosts TCA Winter Press Tour 2018 held at The Langham Huntington on January 8, 2018 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Michael Tran/FilmMagic)
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5. Iger considered running for president—until the Fox deal came together (2017)

In August 2017, two weeks after Disney announced its purchase of the BAM Tech majority stake, Rupert Murdoch invited Iger to his winery in Bel Air, Calif. Iger assumed Murdoch wanted to find out whether Iger planned to run for president in 2020, a rumor that had been circulating, and Iger was right: Murdoch asked him immediately. “I had no desire to be candid with Rupert about my thinking, figuring it would end up on Fox News,” Iger writes.

In fact, Iger had indeed been considering a run for president, “even though I knew it was a terrific longshot,” he writes. He had done extensive homework to school himself on political history and policy. He even reread the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

“I was also trying not to be presumptuous,” he writes. “The simple fact that I ran a large multinational company did not necessarily qualify me to be President of the United States.” Iger also adds, quite candidly, in a moment that possible 2020 candidate Michael Bloomberg might want to take note of, “I was skeptical of the Democratic Party’s willingness and ability to support a successful business person.”

What happened after the politics question with Murdoch ended Iger’s presidential run consideration anyway: Iger felt Murdoch suggested he was willing to sell 21st Century Fox. The next day he called Murdoch and they discussed it more overtly; Murdoch said he would only sell if Iger extended his tenure as CEO; Iger at the time was slated to step down in June 2019. Iger writes: “I suddenly had the feeling that my life was about to change, and a run for the presidency wasn’t going to be the catalyst.”

Nearly two years later, after a prolonged bidding war in which Comcast was also in the mix, Disney finally closed its $71.3 billion acquisition of Fox’s entertainment assets. Iger will remain CEO until 2021.

Daniel Roberts is a senior writer and show host at Yahoo Finance and closely covers Disney. Follow him on Twitter at @readDanwrite.

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