Mr. Cook has over 40 years of experience in the entertainment industry. He is the former Chairman of The Walt Disney Studios, where he oversaw all aspects of development, greenlighting, production, distribution and marketing for live-action and animated motion pictures. He was also responsible for Disney’s worldwide home entertainment operations, The Walt Disney Music Group, Walt Disney Theatrical Productions, Disney-ABC Domestic Television, Disney-ABC International Television, and Disney’s legal and business affairs, new technology and environmental initiatives. Under Mr. Cook’s leadership, Disney achieved numerous milestones and was one of the leading domestic and international distributors for over a decade with global box office receipts in excess of $2 billion each year.
As a 38-year Disney veteran, Mr. Cook rose through the ranks from a ride operator at Disneyland in 1970 to become Chairman of The Walt Disney Studios. During his tenure as Chairman from 2002 to 2009, The Walt Disney Studios released 137 theatrical releases that generated over $24 billion in worldwide box office sales. Memorable titles produced during Mr. Cook’s tenure include well-recognized Disney animation fare (such as the Toy Story 3 and Finding Nemo) as well as blockbuster live action films like Alice in Wonderland, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe as well as The Pirates of the Caribbean and National Treasure series of franchise films. Amongst the 137 releases, 60 films grossed more than $100 million each domestically. No other studio had ever accomplished that extraordinary feat in such a short time span. With Mr. Cook serving as Chairman, The Walt Disney Studios became an early pioneer and industry leader in digital cinema deployment. In November 2005, it launched the first studio-backed Digital Cinema rollout for the successful deployment of 3D enabled digital cinema systems in 84 U.S. theaters in connection with the premiere of Chicken Little utilizing Disney Digital 3D™. This film sparked a revolutionary process to create a previously unachievable level of 3D realism, which in combination with the Digital 3D Cinema systems raised the bar of entertainment in the theatrical exhibition industry.
Most recently Mr. Cook served as executive producer on the Legendary Pictures film “42,” which tells the life story of famed baseball player Jackie Robinson and his history making signing with the Brooklyn Dodgers. The movie opened in theaters on April 12, 2013 to both critical and box office success.
Mr. Cook has received many prestigious honors throughout his lifetime, including: The Freedom Foundation of Valley Forge’s George Washington Medal of Freedom; the Motion Picture Showmanship Award by the publicists of the International Cinematographers Guild (past recipients include Jack L. Warner, Joanne Woodward, Paul Newman, Alfred Hitchcock, Lew Wasserman, Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks); “The Walt Disney Man of the Year Award” by Big Brothers Big Sisters; The Children’s Charity of Southern California Lifetime Achievement Award by Variety; and “Pioneer of the Year” by the Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation. Mr. Cook currently sits on the Board of Directors for KCET Public Television, where he serves as chair. Other boards on which Mr. Cook serves include the Foundation Board for Providence Health Services, the Will Rogers Foundation and the Foundation of Motion Picture Pioneers. Mr. Cook graduated from the University of Southern California with a degree in political science, and he has been a USC trustee and served as president of the USC Alumni Association.