/From the Los Angeles Times/
Ed Catmull: Pixar 's Superhero, Shakes Up Disney
"It's like the Berlin Wall being torn down."
By Claudia Eller
Times Staff Writer
June 12, 2006
It's tempting to see "Cars," the seventh movie from Pixar Animation
Studios, as a parable about the future of Walt Disney Co.
Early in the film, which opened Friday, a cocky race car named Lightning
McQueen declares, "I'm a one-man show." But by the time the credits
roll, McQueen realizes he's nothing without a great pit crew behind him.
It's a lesson that Ed Catmull, Pixar's co-founder and the new president
of Disney Feature Animation, has built his career on.
When Disney acquired Pixar in January, Chief Executive Bob Iger put
Catmull and his better-known creative partner, John Lasseter, in charge
of reinvigorating the Burbank entertainment giant's once-legendary
animation operation. Lasseter, the charismatic idea man who directed
"Cars," will be essential in this effort.
But Lasseter says Catmull is the key to Pixar's (and now Disney's)
success. The 61-year-old computer scientist, who is also president of
Pixar, is nothing short of a spiritual leader, his colleagues say — a
soft-spoken man whose personal philosophies infuse the Pixar culture
that has produced nothing but blockbusters.
"Ed is the reason we're all here," said Lasseter, noting Catmull's
anti-bureaucratic, artist-driven, bottom-up management style. "He's the
ultimate parent — he helps you be the best you can be."......