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Michael Eisner

Michael Eisner

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Also Known As: Michael D. Eisner, Michael Dammann Eisner Died:
Born: March 7, 1942 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Mount Kisco, New York, USA Profession: executive, clerk, page

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Former Walt Disney Company CEO Michael Eisner received the lion's share of the credit when he reversed the company's declining fortunes in the mid-1980s, although charges of a lack of vision and an isolationist management style later led to his humiliating, forced departure in 2005. Beginning his career at the big three networks - NBC, CBS, and ABC, respectively - Eisner followed former boss Barry Diller over to Paramount Pictures in 1976. During his time as the studio's president and CEO, he oversaw an impressive string of hit films that included "Saturday Night Fever" (1977), "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" (1979), and "Beverly Hills Cop" (1984). After Diller's departure, Eisner felt he had hit the career ceiling at Paramount and began courting Disney for a position, ultimately consummating the relationship when he was named chairman and CEO in 1984. Under Eisner's stewardship the company experienced a startling transformation, beginning with its reemergence as the leader in animated feature films with the release of "The Little Mermaid" (1989). With studio chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg, he made Disney's live-action film company, Touchstone Pictures, a force to be reckoned with at the box office....

Former Walt Disney Company CEO Michael Eisner received the lion's share of the credit when he reversed the company's declining fortunes in the mid-1980s, although charges of a lack of vision and an isolationist management style later led to his humiliating, forced departure in 2005. Beginning his career at the big three networks - NBC, CBS, and ABC, respectively - Eisner followed former boss Barry Diller over to Paramount Pictures in 1976. During his time as the studio's president and CEO, he oversaw an impressive string of hit films that included "Saturday Night Fever" (1977), "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" (1979), and "Beverly Hills Cop" (1984). After Diller's departure, Eisner felt he had hit the career ceiling at Paramount and began courting Disney for a position, ultimately consummating the relationship when he was named chairman and CEO in 1984. Under Eisner's stewardship the company experienced a startling transformation, beginning with its reemergence as the leader in animated feature films with the release of "The Little Mermaid" (1989). With studio chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg, he made Disney's live-action film company, Touchstone Pictures, a force to be reckoned with at the box office. Major acquisitions, such as that of independent studio Miramax, sports cable channel ESPN, and major network ABC all added to the company's expanding fortunes. There were, however, several missteps along the way, including the Euro Disney debacle, and the highly publicized, litigious departures of Katzenberg and Michael Ovitz. These unflattering events, combined with charges of mismanagement by the late Walt Disney's nephew, Roy E. Disney, eventually led to shareholders forcing Eisner out of the company in 2005. Never known to shrink from a challenge or fail to create opportunities for himself, Eisner rebounded by forming his own investment company, hosting his own talk show, and developing a comedy series for television, making it clear that, to paraphrase the immortal Mark Twain - rumors of his (entrepreneurial) death had been greatly exaggerated.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Transcendent Man (2009)
3.
 Pixar Story, The (2007)
5.
 Polly (1989) Host ("The Magical World Of Disney")
6.
7.
 Intimate Portrait: Cindy Williams (2001) Interviewee
8.
 Leaders With David Faber (2001) Interviewee
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Grew up on Manhattan's Park Avenue in NYC; spent weekends and summers in Bedford Hills, an exclusive suburb in Westchester County
1963:
Employed as page at NBC
1964:
Hired as a clerk at NBC after graduation
:
Began his career in programming at CBS; worked on children's programming
1966:
Joined ABC's children's programming department
:
Served as assistant to VP & national program director
1968:
Named manager of specials and talent, ABC
1968:
In December, became director of program development, East Coast, ABC
1971:
Named vice president of daytime programming, ABC
:
Began association with Barry Diller, then in charge of acquiring films for ABC
1972:
Became vice president for program development and children's specials for ABC
1973:
Named vice president for primetime program development/productions for ABC
1974:
Became vice president, primetime series television, ABC
1975:
Named vice president, program planning and development, ABC
1976:
Rose to senior vice president, primetime production and development, ABC Entertainment
1976:
Followed Barry Diller to Paramount Pictures; become president and COO
:
Hit films produced under his tenure included "Saturday Night Fever", "Grease", "Raiders of the the Lost Ark", "Terms of Endearment" and "An Officer and a Gentleman"
1984:
Left Paramount to join Disney as chairman and CEO of Walt Disney Productions
1985:
Signed a letter of intent in December confirming the company's plans for a Disneyland in France
1988:
Began hosting "The Magical World of Disney"
1994:
Disney president and COO Frank Wells killed in a Nevada helicopter crash on April 3
1994:
Announced that he would be taking over responsibilities at Disney as president
1994:
Accepted the resignation of Walt Disney Studios chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg after reportedly refusing to give him Wells' job
1994:
Underwent an emergency quadruple bypass heart surgury in July
1995:
Accepted the resignation of Disney TV chief Richard Frank
1995:
Reclaimed the license for the Winnie the Pooh line of characters from Sears, Roebuck
1997:
Signed 10-year contract with Disney; his salary was frozen at $750,000, but was awarded stock options
2003:
Roy Edward Disney (the son of co-founder Roy Oliver Disney) resigned from his positions as Disney vice chairman and chairman of Walt Disney Feature Animation, accusing Eisner of poor management
2004:
Disney's shareholders, rallied by former board members Roy Disney and Stanley Gold, voted to oppose the reelection of Eisner to the corporate board of directors
2005:
Announced that he would step down as CEO one year before his contract expired; Eisner resigned both as an executive and as a member of the board of directors, and, severed all formal ties with the company
2005:
Hosted "The Charlie Rose Show," (PBS) with guests John Travolta and ex-boss-turned-rival, Barry Diller
2006:
Will host an own hour-long, prime-time interview show, "Conversations with Michael Eisner" (CNBC)
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Education

Lawrenceville School: Lawrenceville , New Jersey -
Denison University: Granville , Ohio - 1964

Notes

In 1985, his first full year at Disney, Eisner earned $2,120,000 in salary and bonuses; in 1986 he earned $2,600,000, only $750,000 of which was in salary. His 1989 income was $9,589,360. According to The New York Times (August 1, 1995): "In fiscal 1994 he made about $10.6 million in salary, bonuses and restricted stock awards. The previous year, he received no bonus but exercised stock options valued at $202 million and sold them for a profit of $127 million."

Eisner received the IRTS Gold Medal Award in 1992.

From Cindy Adams'column in the New York Post (August 7, 1995): "Disney's buyout of ABC really began 41 years ago."

"In 1954 ABC and Disney made a deal for "The Wonderful World of Color", later renamed "The Wonderful World of Disney". The weekly show ran seven years. So successful was it that Robert Kitner, the network's then head honcho, took Walt Disney aside and said 'This is so great that . . . who knows . . . if things work out well, you may own this company someday.'

"And Walt said: 'I like that idea. Let's go for it.'"

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Jane Eisner. Had four children; two from each marriage.
wife:
Jane Eisner. Former computer programmer. Born c. 1943; married in 1967.

Family close complete family listing

great-grandfather:
Sigmund Eisner. Clothing manufacturer. Emigrated from Bohemia; made uniforms for the Boy Scouts and the military during WWI and WWII.
great-grandfather:
Sigmund Eisner. Lumber manufacturer.
father:
Lester Eisner. Lawyer, entrepreneur. Administer of the Department of Housing and Urban Development; died in 1987.
father:
Lester Eisner. Was married twice.
mother:
Margaret E Eisner. Survived her.
mother:
Margaret E Eisner. Executive. Co-founder of the American Safety Razor Company; president of a medical research institute; died on July 31, 1996.
sister:
Margot Freedman. Had two; survived her.
son:
Michael Eisner. Filmmaker. Born c. 1970.
son:
Michael Eisner. Married and divorced two more times.
son:
Eric Eisner. Businessman. Born c. 1974; launched Internet site Romp.com.
son:
Eric Eisner. Mother of Vereen's son.
son:
Anders Eisner. Domestic.
son:
Anders Eisner. Born c. 1979.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Bibliography close complete biography

"Prince of the Magic Kingdom: Michael Eisner and the Re-making of Disney" John Wiley & Sons
"Work in Progress" Random House
"The Keys to the Kingdom: How Michael Eisner Lost His Grip" William Morrow

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