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Producer Profile: Don Hahn


Production Company: Walt Disney Motion Picture Co.
Occupation: Producer
Active Years: 25
Birthplace: Illinois

Don Hahn has been helping to create "animation magic" at Disney for 25 years.  He is one of the most successful animation producers of all time and his films have grossed nearly $2 billion at the worldwide box office and been nominated for 17 Academy Awards(R).  The films that he has produced -- "Beauty and the Beast," "Lion King," "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" and "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" -- have been at the very heart of Disney's animation renaissance and have helped define the studio's exciting new direction with regard to animated features.  Most recently, Hahn served as executive producer of Disney's 2000 animated comedy, "The Emperor's New Groove" and producer of the 2001 animated release, "Atlantis:  The Lost Empire." 

Hahn began his professional career at Disney in 1976.  As the producer of the 1991 animated phenomenon, "Beauty and the Beast," he was responsible for guiding a team of 600 artists and helping to create the first film of its genre to ever receive a Best Picture nomination from the Motion Picture Arts Academy.  His next producing credit was on the 1994 animated blockbuster, "The Lion King," which broke box-office records all over the world to become the top-grossing film in Disney history and one of the industry's all-time top performers.  In his role as associate producer of the wildly inventive Touchstone Pictures fantasy, "Who Framed Roger Rabbit," he was creatively involved in the production of yet another landmark motion picture.

Born in Illinois and raised in Southern California from the age of 3, Hahn developed an interest in animation and especially music at an early age.  During high school, he performed as a member of the Los Angeles Junior Philharmonic and he went on to study music and art at Cal State Northridge.  He entertained the notion of becoming a professional orchestral percussionist for a time before joining The Walt Disney Studios in 1976 and beginning his career in animation on "Pete's Dragon."  Hahn went on to work with legendary Disney animator/director Wolfgang "Wollie" Reitherman as assistant director on "The Fox and the Hound" (1981).  He served in a similar capacity on the Oscar(R)-nominated 1983 animated featurette, "Mickey's Christmas Carol." 

As a production manager, Hahn's credits include the Disney animated features "The Black Cauldron" (1985) and "The Great Mouse Detective" (1986).  He also produced "Michael and Mickey," a short film combining animation and live-action, for the Sneak Preview Theater at The Disney-MGM Studios in Florida. 

In 1987, Hahn moved to London to serve a two-year stint as an associate producer, along with acclaimed animation director Richard Williams, on "Who Framed Roger Rabbit."  He re-teamed with the irrespressible toon rabbit again as producer of his first short film, "Tummy Trouble." 

In addition to his enormous accomplishments as a filmmaker, Hahn is the author of several books including Disney's Animation Magic:  A Behind the Scenes Look at How an Animated Film is Made, which provides the definitive illustrated account of how these films are created.  His most recent book, Dancing Corndogs in the Night, a light-hearted look at the reawakening of the creative spirit, was published in 1999.

Hahn, his wife Denise, and their daughter, Emilie, live in Glendale, California.

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