Ed Catmull
Courtesy Catmull
United States

Pixar Animation Studios, Walt Disney Animation Studios



This Oscar-winning computer scientist is the president of Pixar and Disney Animation Studios.

The computer graphics pioneer began studying computer science at the University of Utah in 1965. In 1972, he created a four-minute film of computer-generated animation that represented the state of the art at the time, and was later tapped by another digital pioneer, George Lucas, to help bring computer graphics, video editing and digital audio into the entertainment field. In 1979, he was made VP at Lucas’ Industrial Light & Magic, where he helped develop digital image compositing technology, which in turn revolutionized modern effects-heavy moviemaking.

When Steve Jobs invested $10 million in 1986 to spin off the Lucasfilm digital arm and co-founded Pixar with Catmull and John Lasseter, Catmull was made chief technical officer. He became a key figure in the company’s development of the cutting-edge RenderMan system that helped make such glossy CG hits as “Toy Story” and “Finding Nemo” possible.

Often seen as the brains behind Pixar’s extraordinary success, Catmull has always spearheaded technical innovation at the studio that popularized digital animation, smartly recognizing that making only low-commercial-risk films ultimately leads to creative bankruptcy.


  • Pixar Animation Studios
  • UP


  • University of Utah (UT, USA)

News from Variety

John Lasseter, Ed Catmull and 'Toy Story' Team Celebrate 20th Anniversary

John Lasseter, Ed Catmull and 'Toy Story' Team Celebrate 20th Anniversary

At the Academy's 20th anniversary celebration of "Toy Story" Thursday night at Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills, Disney/Pixar's John Lasseter said the plan was to always portray the toys as adults."The fundamental thing that we did was we always viewed the toys as adults," Lasseter said. "We viewed them that when Andy leaves the room it becomes a work place. What we wanted was for Woody to be the leader, he was Andy's favorite toy but he made sure...



What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given in your career?

“My best advice came by examples. A supportive environment at home, school, and grad school. Support at the New York Institute of Technology, then George Lucas, Steve Jobs and Bob Iger. The examples meant that I should support other people, even when things aren't going well. It will pay off.”

What or who inspires you?

“Walt Disney and Albert Einstein.”

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