John Lasseter

John Lasseter
Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times


John Lasseter
Film: South side of the 6800 block of Hollywood Boulevard
Director | Executive | Producer
Born John Alan Lasseter on Jan. 12, 1957 in Hollywood, CA

John Lasseter could be considered the father of modern 3-D animation.

Born Jan. 12, 1957, in Hollywood, Lasseter was raised in Whittier. His talent as an artist was recognized at an early age: He claimed his first award at the age of 5, when he won $15 for the Model Grocery Market for a crayon drawing of the Headless Horseman.

As a high school freshman, Lasseter stumbled upon Bob Thomas' "The Art of Animation" while browsing the school library. The book afforded a behind-the-scenes look at the artists who created classic Disney cartoons. Shortly afterward, he attended a showing of Disney's "The Sword in the Stone," and informed his mother that he wanted to work for Disney.

Lasseter would realize his dream. He was offered a job at Disney as a junior at the California Institute of the Arts, but opted to remain in school to receive his bachelor of fine arts degree in 1979. Two of his student works, "Lady and the Lamp" and "Nitemare," garnered Student Academy Awards. He joined Disney, and worked on "The Fox and the Hound" and a short, "Mickey's Christmas Carol."

Friends invited Lasseter to look at some early footage of a Disney sci-fi film, "Tron," which featured early computer-generated work. The experience fundamentally altered Lasseter's career trajectory. "Walt Disney, all his career, all his life, was striving to get more dimension in his animation," Lasseter recalled later, in remarks to the Visual Effects Society. "And I was standing there, looking at it, going, ‘This is what Walt was waiting for.’ "

Lasseter joined the computer division of Lucasfilm Ltd., before the formation of Pixar in 1986. He wrote, directed and animated a number of Pixar's early short films, including "Luxo Jr.," "Red's Dream," "Tin Toy" and "Knick Knack." The 1988 short "Tin Toy" became the first computer-animated film to win an Academy Award. His work as a writer and director on the groundbreaking "Toy Story" garnered a special achievement award from the academy.

He co-directed three other award-winning films for Pixar, "A Bug's Life," "Toy Story 2" and "Cars," as well as the 2011 sequel "Cars 2." His executive producing credits include "Monsters, Inc.," "Finding Nemo," "The Incredibles," "Ratatouille," "Wall-E," "Bolt," "Up" and "Toy Story 3."

With Disney's 2006 acquisition of Pixar, Lasseter now oversees all Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios films. Lasseter's credits also include serving as executive producer for Disney's Oscar-nominated "The Princess and the Frog," "Tangled" and "Winnie the Pooh."

— Los Angeles Times

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    Academy Awards

    Year Category Work
    1986 Best Short Film - Animated Luxo Jr. Nomination*
    1988 Best Short Film - Animated Tin Toy Win*
    1995 Honorary Award Toy Story Win
    1995 Best Original Screenplay Toy Story Nomination*
    2001 Best Animated Feature Film Monsters, Inc. Nomination*
    2006 Best Animated Feature Film Cars Nomination
    2010 Best Adapted Screenplay Toy Story 3 Nomination*
    * A joint nomination shared with other people.

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