The Life of Jeffrey Katzenberg: Co-founder of DreamWorks

On this day, December 21 in the year 1950, one of the executives who reinvigorated The Walt Disney Company was born in New York, United States of America. His name was Jeffrey Katzenberg, the co-founder of DreamWorks Studio. According to, his net worth was $880 million in 1986 after DreamWorks was sold to Comcast Corporation.

Jeffrey Katzenberg
Jeffrey Katzenberg (Credit:

Jeffrey Katzenberg was the son of a stockbroker. He attended New York University but dropped out after only one year. Later, he joined Paramount Pictures where he started working as an assistant producer. He worked his way up until he became chief of production, reporting directly to the president, Michael Eisner. When Eisner moved to The Walt Disney Company in 1984, he brought with him Jeffrey.

At Disney, Jeffrey Katzenberg was responsible for reviving the motion picture division. In three years, Disney leapt from near-obscurity to become number one at the box office with the release of Three Men and a Baby and Good Morning, Vietnam. These two blockbusters was a follow up to another successful film released a year ago, Down and Out in Beverly Hills. After a decade of the Eisner-Wells-Katzenberg regime, Disney became the film outfit to watch after the release of box office hits such as The Little Mermaid (1989), Beauty and the Beast (1991), Aladdin (1992) and The Lion King (1994).

After resigning from Disney in 1994, Jeffrey Katzenberg received $250 million out-of-court settlement of a lawsuit that he filed against the company. He then became a partner with Steven Spielberg and David Geffen in founding DreamWorks SKG. As executive producer, he was credited with the successful releases of The Prince of Egypt (1998), The Road to El Dorado and Joseph: King of Dreams (both in 2000), Shrek in 2001, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron in 2002, and Shrek 2 in 2004. In 2014, DreamWorks Animation was spun off and eventually held a successful IPO.

Jeffrey Katzenberg has two children with his wife Marilyn.


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