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Michael Eisner

Bio: Michael Eisner
File photo of Disney chief executive Michael Eisner in Georgetown
Michael Eisner.Tim Shaffer / Reuters File

For four decades, Michael Eisner has been a leader in the entertainment industry, helping to shape this key area of the American economy.

He began his career at ABC, where he rose to senior vice president of prime time production and development, taking the network from number three to number one with such landmark shows as "Happy Days," "Barney Miller," "Rich Man, Poor Man" and "Roots."

In 1976, Michael became president of Paramount Pictures, leading the studio to become number one in box office and profitability, with such films as "Raiders of the Lost Ark," "Saturday Night Fever," "Grease," "Ordinary People" and "Terms of Endearment."

In 1984, Michael assumed the position of Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company and immediately implemented a number of successful growth strategies.

At the theme parks, attendance and revenues climbed due to popular new attractions and the addition of new hotels, as well as an entire new theme park, The Disney/MGM Studios.

The Disney Studios shot from last place to first with live-action films such as "Down and Out in Beverly Hills," "Three Men and a Baby," "Good Morning, Vietnam" and "Dead Poets Society," and continued its winning ways with hits like "Pretty Woman," "Father of the Bride," "Sister Act," "The Rock," "Armageddon," "Remember the Titans," "Pearl Harbor," "The Princess Diaries," "Signs," "Sweet Home Alabama," "Bringing Down the House," "Pirates of the Caribbean" and "National Treasure."

Thanks, in part, to the development of the Disney Stores, Disney Consumer Products rose to dominance in the field of entertainment merchandise.

Renewed efforts at Disney animation resulted in such fiscally and creatively successful films as "Who Framed Roger Rabbit," "The Little Mermaid," "Beauty & the Beast," "Aladdin," "The Lion King," "Toy Story," "Toy Story 2," "Mulan," "Tarzan," "Dinosaur," "Monsters, Inc.," "Lilo & Stitch," "Finding Nemo," "The Incredibles" and "Chicken Little."

Disney created the Touchstone Television division, which has produced such hit shows as "Home Improvement," "Golden Girls," "Lost," "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," "Grey's Anatomy" and "Desperate Housewives."

Under Michael's leadership, Disney opened Disneyland Paris and Hong Kong Disneyland; expanded the Walt Disney theme parks; acquired Capital Cities/ABC, which included the ABC television network and equity ownership in ESPN, The History Channel, Lifetime, A&E and E!; developed such leading Internet sites as,,, and; acquired Miramax Pictures; created Walt Disney Theatrical, which produced "Beauty & the Beast," "Aida," "The Lion King" and the London hit production of "Mary Poppins;" developed the Disney Cruise Line; and acquired the Fox Family Channel (now ABC Family).

Eisner is the author of a book, "Work in Progress," which he wrote with Tony Schwartz about his involvement in the entertainment industry, as well as Camp, about the life lessons learned during his formative years at Keywaydin summer camp in Vermont.

Born March 7, 1942 in New York, he graduated from Lawrenceville School in 1960 and Denison University in 1964 with a B.A. in English literature and theater. He serves on the boards of California Institute of the Arts, Denison University, American Hospital of Paris Foundation, the Aspen Institute and the Yale School of Architecture Dean's Council and is a member of The Business Council. He has established and funded The Eisner Foundation, a philanthropic organization headed by his wife, Jane.

He and Jane have three sons, Breck, Eric and Anders.