US entertainment executive whose leadership transformed the Walt Disney Company into a major media conglomerate during his tenure (1984–2005).
In 1984 Eisner became chair and chief executive of Walt Disney Productions (renamed Walt Disney Company in 1986). He released Disney's library of classic films on video and revived Disney animation with a new generation of box-office hits, including The Little Mermaid (1989), Beauty and the Beast (1991), and The Lion King (1994). He also released action films through the Disney Touchstone label, and avant-garde films through Miramax, an independent film company acquired in 1993. Eisner opened the first Disney store in 1987 and expanded the company's theme parks division, including the Disney–MGM Studios and the initially debt-laden Euro Disney.
Eisner was born in Mount Kisco, New York. After graduating from Denison University, Ohio, in 1964, he worked for NBC and CBS before starting his career with ABC as a programming assistant in 1966.
In 1976 he joined the struggling Paramount Pictures studio as second-in command to his former ABC boss Barry Diller (1942– ). During his tenure, Eisner turned the studio around, placing Paramount at the top of the Hollywood studio league with films such as Saturday Night Fever (1977) and Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981).
Eisner, Michael Damman
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