Born: January 01, 1949
Date of Birth: c. 1949
Born in Rye, New York but raised in Scottsdale, Arizona, Roger Allers became hooked on animation at the age of five after seeing Disney's classic feature film Peter Pan (1953). Deciding that he wanted to become a Disney artist and work with Walt Disney himself, a few years later he sent away for a do-it-yourself Disney animation kit. However, in 1966, when he heard of Walt Disney's death, Allers, by then a high school student, grew discouraged about attaining his dream.
He went on to receive a degree in fine arts from Arizona State University. But it was after auditing a class at Harvard that he found his interest in animation renewed. He landed a job with Lisberger Studios, where he worked on the animation end for projects such as Sesame Street, The Electric Company, Make a Wish, and various commercials.
In 1978, he relocated to Los Angeles with Lisberger to work on a feature project called Animalympics, providing story work, character design and animation for the film. This was followed by a six-month stint as part of the storyboard team for the Disney/Lisberger co-production, Tron (1982), his first live action experience.
Allers moved to Toronto, Ontario in 1980, in order to work for the famed Nelvana Studios as an animator on a feature called Rock & Rule. After two years in the frosty north he returned to Los Angeles to work on Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland. Another two-year stint, this time in Tokyo, followed, as one of the animation directors overseeing the Japanese artists.
Back in Los Angeles in 1985, Allers heard that Disney was looking for a storyboard person on Oliver & Company and immediately applied for and was hired for the job. His dream had at long last come true. During his time there, he worked on every animated feature that Disney produced in the next few years, including The Little Mermaid, The Prince and the Pauper, The Rescuers Down Under, Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin.
He made his feature film directing debut with the multi-award winning The Lion King (1994), which was not only a hit film, but went on to become a Broadway musical. Allers took time off before directing his next animated feature, Open Season (2006) featuring the voice talents of Martin Lawrence and Ashton Kutcher.
Allers and his wife, Leslee, live in Venice, California. They have a grown daughter and son.