John Lasseter is an American animator and the Chief Creative Advisor of Walt Disney Imagineering. He is responsible for the creation of films like "Luxo Jr" (1986), "Toy Story" (1995), "A Bug’s Life"1998), "Toy Story 2" (1999), "Cars" (2006), and "
Cars 2" (2011). He has won two Oscars for- Best Animated Short film (for Tin Toy) and a Special Achievement Award (for Toy Story).
Born in Hollywood, California on January 12, 1957, Lasseter was drawn to drawing at an early age. He received $15 as his first award at the age of 5, for a crayon sketch of the Headless Horseman. While growing up in Whittier, he developed an interest in animation and read The Art of Animation by Bob Thomas. The book spoke about the animation history of Disney, and had detailed behind-the-scenes accounts of the 1959 movie "Sleeping Beauty.” These narratives encouraged Lasseter to take up animation in the future.
It was after watching "The Sword in Stone", that he fully made up his mind about his career. While pursuing higher studies at Pepperdine University, he heard of a new character animation program organized by the California Institute of Art s(CalArts) and left Pepperdine to follow his dream. At CalArts, Lasseter had Eric Larson, Frank Thomas, and Ollie Johnston-veteran animators- as teachers. His classmates- Brad Bird, John Musker, Henry Slick among others- are a few of the finest animators today. During his stay at CalArts, Lasseter made two animated movies- "Lady and the Lamp" and "Nitemare"- and went on to win the student Oscar for Animation of both. He also started working for Disney while still at CalArts.
His directorial debut was with Disney’s "Toy Story" (1995), the world’s first animated film with the running time of a feature, which won him a Special Achievement Academy Award, and a Best Original Screenplay Award. In the recent past, he was the executive producer of the movie "
Frozen" (2013), which won two awards- Disney’s Animation Studio’s Academy Award, and an Oscar for Best Original Song. Next, Lasseter was appointed as the creative head of Disney Animation Studio.
After that he has been the executive producer of all its films- "
Tangled"(2010), "The Princess and The Frog" (based on the famous fairytale) (2009), "Wreck it Ralph" (2012) and the very recent "
Big Hero 6"(2014). Lasseter has also served with Pixar, having written, directed and animated almost all of its original films- "Luxo Jr,” “Red’s Dream,” (which stars Red, an unicycle), “Tin Toy" (which runs for 5 minutes and narrates the adventures of a toy as it attempts to escape the clutches of a destructive baby) and "Knick Knack.”
Among these, "Luxo Jr" (which features one large and one small desk lamp) received a nomination for Best Animated Short Film in the Academy Awards of 1986, while "Tin Toy" won in the same category in 1988. He executively produced "Monster, Inc." (2001), "Finding Nemo" (2003), "The Incredibles" (2004), "Ratatouille" (2007), "WALL-E" (2008), "
Up" (2009), "
Brave" (2012), "
Inside Out" (2015). Lasseter has won plenty of awards. In 2009, he, along with the directors of Pixar received the honorable Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement Award at the 66th International Film Awards, organized in Venice. In 2010, he received the Producer’s Guild of America’s David O’Selznick Achievement Award in Motion Pictures.
His other accomplishments include- Outstanding Contribution to Cinematic Imagery Award (Art Director’s Guild) in 2004, an honorary degree awarded to him by the American Film Institute, and the 2008 Winsor McKay (ASIFA- Hollywood) for the achievements he has made in his career, and his enormous contribution to the art of animation. Lasseter has also looked into Resort. He, as the principal creative advisor of Walt Disney Imagineering, has launched Cars Land, a 12-acre extension of Disney California Adventure Park. Currently, he is working on the direction of "
Toy Story 4".