Meet Dick Cook, Chairman, Board of Trustees

Dick Cook
Dick Cook, Chairman, Board of Trustees

Dick Cook is the chairman of the Board of Trustees.  Over the past five years as Board Chair for KCETLink Media Group’s Board of Directors, Mr. Cook has provided leadership through major corporate milestones for the organization, including KCET’s 50th Anniversary and the FCC Spectrum Auction. Mr. Cook also led the company through the merger with PBS SoCal (KOCE) as interim CEO.  In addition, Mr. Cook is the chairman of the board and CEO of Dick Cook Studios, with over 40 years of experience in the entertainment industry.  As past chairman of The Walt Disney Studios, he oversaw all aspects of development, 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 ride operator at the Disneyland Theme Park in 1970 to become chairman of The Walt Disney Studios. As chairman from 2002 to 2009, The Walt Disney Studios released 137 theatrical releases that generated over $24 billion in worldwide box office sales. Top grossing titles produced during Mr. Cook’s tenure include critically acclaimed Disney and Pixar animation fare such as the Toy Story franchise, The Incredibles, Finding Nemo and Lilo and Stitch, as well as blockbuster live action motion pictures Alice in Wonderland, The Chronicles of Narnia: the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Pearl Harbor and The Pirates of the Caribbean and National Treasure franchises, among others. Among 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.  Today, there are over 87,000 3D Cinema systems in the world.

Additionally, Mr. Cook served as executive producer on the Warner Bros. and Legendary Entertainment 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 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 is chairman of the Rose Hills Foundation Board of Directors, and serves on the Foundation Board for Providence Health Services. Mr. Cook recently sat on the Board of Governors for the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, where he served as Academy treasurer. 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.

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