Born: January 12, 1957
Born in Hollywood, California, John Lasseter grew up in Whittier, California. He inherited his artistic talent from his mother, who was an art teacher. At the age of five, Lasseter won $15 from the Model Grocery Market in his hometown for a crayon drawing of the Headless Horseman.
After reading a book about animation, he realized he’d hit upon the perfect career, and in his teens, Lasseter wrote Walt Disney. Disney was in the process of setting up an animation program at CalArts, and Lasseter became the second student accepted into the program.
While there, he made two short films, both of which won Student Academy Awards. He apprenticed with Disney during hissummer breaks, and after graduating in 1979, landed a full time position in their feature animation department. During his five years there, he worked on a number of high profile animated films.
In 1984 he left Disney to work for the computer graphics unit of Lucasfilm. The company was later sold and became Pixar, of which Lasseter is now Executive Vice President. In 1987, he received an Oscar nomination for his short film Luxo Jr. (1986) and two years later, won the Best Animated Short Film Oscar for Tin Toy (1988).
Lasseter made his feature film directorial debut with the runaway hit Toy Story (1995). He received a special achievement Academy Award for his work on the groundbreaking film. He went on to further acclaim as the director of A Bug's Life (1998) and Toy Story 2 (1999).
He also wrote and directed Cars (2006), an animated feature about a racecar who gets stuck in a small town full of quirky characters, starring the voice talents of Owen Wilson, Paul Newman and Bonnie Hunt, as well as the sequel, Cars 2 (2011).
Other awards Lasseter has received include the Pioneer of Animation at the 2006 ShoWest convention, the prestigious Georges Méliès Award for Artistic Excellence from the Visual Effects Society (also in 2006), and an Outstanding Contribution to Cinematic Imagery Award in 2004 from the Art Directors Guild.
Lasseter and his wife, Nancy, live in California with their five sons.