Jeffrey Katzenberg at the Walk of Fame ceremony for Hugh Jackman, December 13, 2012, in Hollywood, California. Photo by Angela George.
Jeffrey Katzenberg on Wikipedia
Jeffrey Katzenberg on the Internet Movie Database
 
 
 
 
 
 
Jeffrey Katzenberg
Forecourt Ceremony held on Thursday, September 29, 2016
 
Born: December 21, 1950, in New York City, New York
Age at the time of the ceremony: 65
 
Jeffrey Katzenberg is a well-known film executive, legendary not only for his wheeling and dealing, but also for being something of a producer. Under his leadership, Paramount, then Walt Disney with their Touchstone Pictures brand, and finally with his own studio, DreamWorks SKG, Katzenberg has produced some amazing films, especially in the feature animation department.

Katzenberg's parents were his mother Anne, an artist, and his father Walter, a stockbroker. When the lad was 14, he did volunteer work for New York City mayoral candidate John Lindsay's successful campaign. Jeffrey attended the Ethical Culture Fielston School in New York, graduating in 1969.

Katzenberg then went to work for United Artists CEO David V. Picker. After a short time, he went to work for Paramount chairman Barry Diller in 1974, where Katzenberg worked in the marketing department, overseeing the release of films like Chinatown (which played the Chinese in June 1974) with Jack Nicholson, Death Wish (released in July 1974) with Charles Bronson, The Longest Yard (released in August 1974) with Burt Reynolds, The Godfather: Part II (released in December 1974) with Al Pacino and Marathon Man (which played the Chinese in October 1976) with Dustin Hoffman.

Eventually, Katzenberg was given the task of reviving the Star Trek franchise, developing what would become Star Trek: The Motion Picture (which played the Chinese in December 1979). Katzenberg would, under Paramount president Michael Eisner, become head of production in 1980, greenlighting projects like Urban Cowboy (released in June 1980) with John Travolta, Airplane! (released in July 1980) with Robert Hays, Raiders of the Lost Ark (which played the Chinese in June 1981) with Harrison Ford, An Officer and a Gentleman (released in August 1982) with Richard Gere, Flashdance (which played the Chinese in April 1983) with Jennifer Beals, Trading Places (released in June 1983) with Dan Aykroyd and Terms of Endearment (which played the Chinese in December 1983) with Debra Winger, and which won the Oscar for Best Picture.

When Michael Eisner became the CEO of The Walt Disney Company in 1984, he brought Katzenberg along with him to head up the movie division. Katzenberg responded by setting up Touchstone Pictures to make racier films and Silver Screen Partners — for outside investors who would share the risk of making the racier films. Some of the hits Touchstone enjoyed during Katzenberg's reign included Down and Out in Beverly Hills (released in January 1986) with Nick Nolte, Three Men and a Baby (released in November 1987) with Tom Selleck, Good Morning, Vietnam (released in January 1988) with Robin Williams, Dead Poets Society (released in June 1989) with Robin Williams and Pretty Woman (released in March 1990) with Richard Gere.

Katzenberg was also responsible for the uptick in the Disney Animation unit, where he oversaw the successful production of Who Framed Roger Rabbit (released in June 1988) with Bob Hoskins, The Little Mermaid (released in November 1989), Beauty and the Beast (released in November 1991), Aladdin (released in November 1992) and The Lion King (released in June 1994), all of which became blockbusters. Under Katzenberg's supervision was the acquisition of the Pixar animation company and that of Miramax Films.

The record shows that an animosity sprang up between Walt Disney's nephew Roy E. Disney and Katzenberg, resulting in Katzenberg leaving the Disney Studio and suing for his compensation. His suit was settled out of court for $250 million.

In late 1994, Katzenberg then teamed with director Steven Spielberg and record and movie producer David Geffen to form DreamWorks SKG, where he oversaw the production of animated features, and where he was credited with being the executive producer of The Prince of Egypt (released in December 1998) which took in $218 million, The Road to El Dorado (released in March 2000) which took in $76 million and Chicken Run (released in June 2000) which took in $225 million.

Katzenberg was co-producer of Shrek (which played the Chinese in May 2001) with Mike Myers and Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron (released in May 2002) with Matt Damon. Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas (released in July 2003) with Brad Pitt, lost almost its entire cost.

So, DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. (DWA) was spun off to be a separate company with Katzenberg at the helm in 2004. At first, DreamWorks SKG released the DWA product. Since then, every single DWA production has made money, which is an incredible thing in today's movie marketplace. Just try it, if you don't belive us.

Shrek 2 (released in May 2004) took in $920 million worldwide (that's right kids — almost a billion bucks!) This was followed by Madagascar (released in May 2005), which took in $533 million. For some reason, Katzenberg was executive producer of the DreamWorks Television special The Contender Rematch: Mora vs. Manfredo aired over ESPN in October 2005.

This was followed by his being executive producer for 26 episodes of The Contender hosted by Sylvester Stallone and Sugar Ray Leonard, aired over ESPN from July 2006 to January 2009. With the sale of DreamWorks SKG to Paramount in early 2006, DWA films were now being distributed by Paramount. A big hit for them was Shrek the Third (released in May 2007); it took in $799 million.

Katzenberg executive produced a show with Muay Thai kickboxing contestants eliminated over 12 episodes of The Contender Asia aired over AXN in January 2008. Later in 2008, DWA and Technicolor opened up an animation studio in Bangalore India, which eventually worked on the DWA features, starting with Puss in Boots (released in October 2011) which took in $555 million.

Meanwhile, DreamWorks Animation racked up some significant hits, including Kung Fu Panda (released in June 2008) which took in $632 million, Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (released in November 2008) taking in $604 million, How to Train Your Dragon (released in March 2010) took in $495 million, and Shrek The Final Chapter (released in May 2010), which took in $753 million.

Katzenberg was executive producer for five episodes of Neighbors from Hell with Will Sasso, aired over TBS in June 2010. Kung Fu Panda 2 (released in May 2011) took in $655 million worldwide.

DWA acquired England's Classic Media in 2012, providing an "in" to that market, while Oriental DreamWorks was founded in Shanghai, China in 2012, to produce content for the Chinese market. DWA features were then released through 20th Century Fox starting with
The Croods (released in March 2013), which took in $587 million.

In May 2013 Katzenberg announced the puchase by DWA of the YouTube channel AwesomenessTV. Later that year, DWA purchased the Chapman Entertainment film library. More hits for DreamWorks Animation followed: How to Train Your Dragon 2 (which played the Chinese in June 2014) took in $621 million and Kung Fu Panda 3 (which had its Global Premiere at the Chinese on Saturday, January 16, 2016) took in $521 million.

Comcast and its NBCUniversal operations purchased DreamWorks Animation for $3.8 billion in April 2016. Katzenberg was kicked upstairs to head DreamWorks New Media, but resigned after only a few months on the job.

Katzenberg was invited down to the Chinese to make his imprints in the Forecourt while a free agent, with no new movie to promote. In January of 2017, Kazenberg announced that he and some partners were starting a new media funding company called WndrCo.

Towards the end of 2018, he announced that he was starting a new streaming service called Quibi, which would show short films made by Hollywood types for viewing on smartphones. Former eBay chairman Meg Whitman was hired as CEO, and they have a lot of Hollywood investors. Katzenberg is credited as being the executive producer of several series on the platform, with names like Thanks a Million with celebs gifting money to poor people, Elba vs. Block with Idris Elba, Dummy with Anna Kendrick, and Natural Born Narco with Luigi Correa.
 
 
TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX®, Hollywood, California. Jeffrey Katzenberg Forecourt block. Executed by unknown, Thursday, September 29, 2016. 30 x 20 inches.
TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX®, Hollywood, California. Jeffrey Katzenberg Forecourt ceremony, Thursday, September 29, 2016. Jeffrey Katzenberg looks up with a smile as he places his hands in the wet cement.
 
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