You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Vanessa Morrison

Women's Impact Report: Executive Suite

Vanessa Morrison started her career at Fox as an intern back in 1994. Today, she runs the studio’s animation division, overseeing such projects as “Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who!” and the upcoming “Ice Age” sequel “Dawn of the Dinosaurs.”

“I started in a windowless office that used to be a safe — my own kind of hovel,” she remembers. “And though I worked on many things as a junior executive coming up, I always gravitated to family movies.”

On the live-action side, Morrison developed such hits as “Dr. Dolittle,” “Garfield” and “Alvin and the Chipmunks,” many of which teetered into animated territory. But it’s her emphasis on story, not technology, that best equips her for the post, which she took over from Chris Meledandri when he left for Universal in early 2007.

As animation prexy, Morrison may not have hatched “Horton” per se, but she did see the film through previews and positioned it for its $150 million-plus domestic run. “Ice Age 3” marks the first project Morrison shepherded from start to finish, working closely with the Blue Sky team to concoct a plot that allows the franchise’s familiar characters to coexist with a group of not-quite-extinct dinosaurs.

The White Plains, N.Y.-based animation studio may be Fox’s primary creative partner, but Morrison also is open to other collaborators. She greenlit the deal for Wes Anderson to helm a stop-motion adaptation of Roald Dahl’s “The Fantastic Mr. Fox,” making periodic trips to London to check on the production. “Wes brings his own sensibility to these characters, and I think it’s going to be a real surprise,” she says.

Role model: “My father was a theoretical physicist who taught at UC Berkeley, and he was very much a pioneering spirit who was unafraid to look into unusual things, and for that I feel he gave me courage and creativity. My mother was a first-grade teacher who encouraged me to push the boundaries of my imagination.”

Three things in life I can’t do without: “My husband, John Murchison; my mother, who lives with me and helps me out; and my son, Julian.”

What I’m reading now: “I tend to read multiple things at once. I’m reading ‘The Bell Jar’ and just started Junot Diaz’s ‘The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.'”

Fave leisure activity: “Anytime I have I spend with my son and my family.”

Career mantra: “Just to follow your interests and your curiosity.”

More Scene

  • Naomi Scott Talks Rebooting Princess Jasmine

    'Aladdin': Naomi Scott on Why Her Princess Jasmine Needed Nasim Pedrad's New Character

    Call Naomi Scott the queen of the reboot – or at least, the princess. The 26-year-old actress is taking on the role of Princess Jasmine in Disney’s live-action remake of “Aladdin,” but it’s not her first time jumping into a role that’s already been well-established. Audiences may recognize Scott from 2017’s “Power Rangers” update, where [...]

  • Inside amfAR's Cannes Gala

    Inside amfAR's Cannes Gala: Mariah Carey, Kendall Jenner and Tiffany Trump

    Kendall Jenner caused a commotion when she arrived. Tiffany Trump went unrecognized until a member of the press pointed her out as she made her way down the carpet. And Mariah Carey flew in to perform a couple of songs. Welcome to this year’s AmfAR Gala Cannes, the AIDS organization’s annual — and largest — [...]

  • Lauren Ash44th Annual Gracie Awards, Show,

    Politics and New Abortion Ban Laws Dominate 2019 Gracie Awards

    Female empowerment was in the air Tuesday night as showrunners, writers and performers gathered at the 44th annual Gracie Awards to celebrate women breaking barriers and shattering glass ceilings within the entertainment industry. Sandra Oh, Patricia Arquette, Rachel Maddow and Connie Britton were among the honorees at the ceremony, which took place at the Beverly [...]

  • Sacha Baron Cohen

    Why Sacha Baron Cohen Credits Donald Trump for ‘Who Is America?’

    Over the course of history, comedians have shared their take on current events with biting commentary on everything from class and gender to fashion and politics, and the current presidential administration is definitely no exception — with President Donald Trump regularly lampooned on shows like “Saturday Night Live” and by late-night TV hosts. But when [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content