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Dick Cook[]

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Richard W. Cook is an American film entertainment executive, and has served as Chairman of The Walt Disney Studios since 2002, and has shared the job with Meryl Poster since 2004. He is the only remaining top Disney executive who had worked for the company since before Michael Eisner took charge in 1984. Cook holds a degree in political science from the University of Southern California (USC).


Cook began his career with Disney in 1970 as a monorail and steam locomotive amusement park ride operator at Disneyland and moved to the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank in 1977 to manage pay television and non-theatrical releases. In 1980, he moved to the company's film distribution department, eventually heading both its distribution and marketing efforts. He earned a reputation there by his marketing of Disney's home video collection and hosting media-worthy movie premieres, for example securing a premiere of the movie The Rock on Alcatraz Island in 1996. In 1994, Cook was promoted to president of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.[1]

Cook was appointed in 1996 chairman of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, tasked with domestic and international theatrical marketing and distribution, feature film acquisition, and worldwide home video. In February 2002, Eisner named him as Peter Schneider's replacement as chairman of studios,[2] popularly called the studio chief. Cook, described by BusinessWeek in 2003 as "the nicest guy in Disney's jungle", is known for his down-to-earth personality and his good relations with Disney's partners, including Jerry Bruckheimer.[3] Since 2004, when Meryl Poster joined him as co-chair,[4] their relationship has been described as Cook "(being) the face, and (Poster) the muscle that gets things done."[5]

In 2005, Cook was awarded the Walt Disney Man of the Year Award, in recognition of "inspiring and positive role models for young people" from within the entertainment community, by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles & the Inland Empire.[6][7] On July 17, 2006, Cook fired Disney executive Nina Jacobson over the telephone, immediately after the birth of her third child, while she was still in the delivery room.[8] Cook apologized to Jacobson for "not planning it out better." Jacobson eventually ended up as an executive for Springbok Productions. Cook and Poster have been credited as continuing Disney's run of critical and commercial successes and extending them to all divisions of the film studio. In 2020, he and Poster were named Disney Legends.


  1. Biography: Richard Cook. The Walt Disney Studios. The Walt Disney Company. Retrieved on December 14, 2013.
  2. Walt Disney Studios Ups Richard Cook To Chairman (en). Animation World Network (February 22, 2002). Retrieved on June 2, 2020.
  3. The Nicest Guy in Disney's Jungle. BusinessWeek (December 5, 2003). Retrieved on July 4, 2007.
  4. Disney Names New Studio Head, Eisner Defines Succession. Los Angeles Times (July 11, 2004). Retrieved on July 4, 2007.
  5. Dialogue: Meryl Poster and Dick Cook. The Hollywood Reporter (February 17, 2013). Retrieved on April 20, 2013.
  6. Dees, Rick. (November 10, 2005). Legendary Radio Personality Rick Dees to Host Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles & the Inland Empire Honoring Top Entertainment Industry Talent at Rising Stars 2005 50th Anniversary Gala on November 11. BusinessWire. Accessed July 4, 2007.
  7. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Los Angeles and the Inland Empire to Honor Top Entertainment Industry Talent at Rising Stars 2006 Gala Accessed July 4, 2007.
  8. Nikki Finke. Nina… And Then There Will Be None. Deadline.
Categories: American film executives | Disney executives | Living people | University of Southern California alumni

This page was last edited on 28 April 2021, at 16:06 (UTC).

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