Ed Catmull
Courtesy Catmull
United States

Walt Disney Animation Studios



In 1972, while at the University of Utah, Catmull created a four-minute film of computer-generated animation representing the state of the art, and as Hollywood would have it, George Lucas saw it and tapped him to bring his technical wizardry to Industrial Light & Magic, where he revolutionized effects-heavy moviemaking before co-founding Pixar in 1986 with Steve Jobs and John Lasseter. Catmull was a key figure in the development of the studio’s game-changing — and Oscar-winning — RenderMan VFX system, which was used in the world’s first CG movie, “Toy Story,” and forever changed the face of animation. The 73-year-old has announced his retirement at year’s end, though he’ll stay on in an advisory role until July 2019 — marking 40 years since his original Lucasfilm hire.


  • Lucasfilm Limited
  • Pixar Animation Studios
  • Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration


  • University of Utah (UT, USA)

Variety Honors

  • 2017 Variety500 Honoree
  • 2018 Variety500 Honoree
  • Creative Impact Award
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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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