John Lasseter, the creative force behind Pixar's megahits such as The Incredibles
, Toy Story
and Finding Nemo
, has a reputation as the man with the golden touch. Now that he's the newly named chief creative officer for Disney animation studios, the hope is that some of that magic will rub off on Disney's sagging movie division.
The post is a long way from Lasseter's first job with Disney: While in school at the California Institute of the Arts, he held a job as a "sweeper" at Disneyland, where "he picked up cigarette butts," says famed animator John Musker, director of The Little Mermaid
, and also Lasseter's suitemate at CalArts.
But Disney gave Lasseter much more than spending cash: At CalArts, he studied under Disney animators. He graduated in 1979 and soon landed a job at the Burbank media giant.