Don Hahn
Biographical Information
Birthdate November 26, 1955 (Age 62)
Birthplace Chicago, Illinois, United States
Gender Male
Nationality American
Occupation Film Producer, Film Director
Years Active 1977-Present
Atlantis Role Producer of Atlantis: The Lost Empire

Don Hahn is an American film producer who has produced some of the most successful Walt Disney animated films of the past twenty years. He currently owns his own film production company called Stone Circle Pictures and has been heavily involved in the Disneynature documentaries. He served as producer of Atlantis: The Lost Empire.


Early LifeEdit

Don was born in Chicago, Illinois to a Lutheran minister. When he was three, his family moved to Bellflower, California. While attending high school here, he shot his first series of animated shorts for the school's film club. While a teenager, his family moved to Burbank, California. Don focused on music and graduated from North Hollywood High School as a drum major of the school marching band. He would study music first at Los Angeles Valley College, also as a drum major of the march band. He then went to California State University Northridge where he majored in music and minored in graphic and fine art. He was briefly part of the Los Angeles Junior Philharmonic Orchestra as a percussionist, worked as a drum head tester for Remo Inc., and taught music at Notre Dame High School in order to put himself through college.

Early Disney CareerEdit

Don would drop music and move into animation in 1976, beginning as an assistant animator on Pete's Dragon. He briefly joined Don Bluth and other animators in their exodus from The Walt Disney Company, working on the group's first independent project Banjo the Woodpile Cat, but returned when offered the opportunity to work directly under Wolfgang "Woolie" Reitherman, a member of the legendary Nine Old Men, as assistant director on The Fox and the Hound.

He would transition into the production aspect of filmmaking by first serving as a production assistant on Mickey's Christmas Carol and then became production manager on The Black Cauldron. He then became associate producer on the film Who Framed Roger Rabbit before he followed by becoming producer of the first Roger Rabbit short Tummy Trouble. He would also produce a segment on the Michael and Mickey television special.

Arguably Don's greatest achievement in animation came when he produced Beauty and the Beast, which became the first animated feature ever to be nominated for the Best Picture Academy Award. He achieved further acclaim and success in producing The Lion King, which became the highest grossing traditionally-animated feature in history. Don would next work with the directors of Beauty and the Beast, Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise, again producing The Hunchback of Notre Dame, served as executive producer of The Emperor's New Groove, and direct the live-action host segments of Fantasia 2000 before rejoining Trousdale and Wise in producing their third film Atlantis: The Lost Empire.

In 2003, he would produce his first live-action film in adapting the popular Disney theme park attraction The Haunted Mansion. He followed by producing Lorenzo, an animated short that, while receiving an Academy Award nomination, has rarely been seen by the general public and has, to date, not been made available on any sort of release. He would also produce animated shorts One by One and The Chestnut Tree.

In 2006, he produced an animation short that earned him his second Academy Award nomination in The Little Matchgirl and served as interim head of Walt Disney Feature Animation during The Walt Disney Company's merger with Pixar Animation Studios. He is currently serving as executive producer of Tim Burton's upcoming stop motion animated feature update of his popular live-action short Frankenweenie and will also be producing a reimagining of the Sleeping Beauty tale with Maleficent starring Angelina Jolie.


After his interim term as the head of Walt Disney Feature Animation, Don began to focus on producing and directing documentaries. He became an instrumental figure in the Disneynature film label, serving as executive producer on the US localization of their first film Earth. He then made his feature directorial debut with the documentary Waking Sleeping Beauty, which covered how the animation renaissance of the 1980's and 90's that he was apart of came about. He would then be commissioned by the Walt Disney Family Museum to direct Christmas with Walt Disney, which runs every holiday season at the museum in San Francisco, California.

After serving as executive producer on the next Disneynature film Oceans, Don took a one-year sabbatical from Disney to make Hand Held, a documentary about photographer Mike Carroll, one of the first photojournalists to uncover the pediatric AIDS epidemic in post-Communist eastern Europe. Returning to Disney, Don served as executive producer on the Disneynature film African Cats and will do the same for the up-coming features Chimpanzee.


Don has also tried his hand in publishing books through Disney's Hyperion Books and later Disney Editions. His first book was Dancing Corndogs in the Night: Reawakening Your Creative Spirit, a case study of the human creative spirit. He followed with three books on animation: Disney's Animation Kit, Disney's Animation Magic 2001, and The Alchemy of Animation: Making an Animated Film in the Modern Age.

In 2009, Don published a series of lectures from late animator Walt Stanchfield, who was among the mentoring animators of the Disney School of Animation Don had set up and managed earlier in his career to properly train a generation of young artists coming up within the studio's animation department. Drawn to Life: 20 Golden Years of Disney Master Classes was released in two volumes.

Don has recently published a new book in May 2011 that once again explores human creativity titled Brain Storm: Unleashing Your Creative Self.

Personal LifeEdit

Don is married, whose name is Denise. They have one child together.


  • Pete's Dragon (1977)
    • Assistant Animator (Uncredited)
  • The Fox and the Hound (1981)
    • Assistant Director
  • Mickey's Christmas Carol (1983)
    • Production Assistant
  • The Black Cauldron (1985)
    • Production Manager
  • The Great Mouse Detective (1986)
    • Production Manager (Uncredited)
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)
    • Associate Producer
  • Tummy Trouble (1989)
    • Producer
  • Michael and Mickey (1991)
    • Segment Producer
  • Beauty and the Beast (1991)
    • Producer
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
    • Producer - 2006 3D Version
  • The Lion King (1994)
    • Producer
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996)
    • Producer
  • Fantasia 2000 (1999)
    • Director - Host Sequences
  • The Emperor's New Groove (2000)
    • Executive Producer
  • Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001)
    • Producer
  • The Haunted Mansion (2003)
    • Producer
  • Lorenzo' (2004)
    • Executive Producer
  • One by One (2004)
    • Producer
  • The Little Matchgirl (2006)
    • Producer
  • Earth (2007)
    • Executive Producer
  • The Chestnut Tree (2007)
    • Executive Producer
  • Christmas with Walt Disney (2009)
    • Director
    • Producer
  • HGTV Showdown (2009)
    • Production Team - Episode: Battle of the Backyards
  • Oceans (2009)
    • Executive Producer
  • Pups of Liberty (2009)
    • Creative Consultant
  • Waking Sleeping Beauty (2009)
    • Director
    • Producer
  • Hand Held (2010)
    • Director
    • Producer
  • African Cats (2011)
    • Executive Producer
  • Chimpanzee (2012)
    • Executive Producer
  • Frankenweenie (2012)
    • Executive Producer
  • High Ground (2012)
    • Producer
    • Writer
  • Wish List (2013)
    • Executive Producer
  • Maleficent (2014)
    • Producer

Awards and HonorsEdit

Golden Globe Awards

  • 1992 recipient for Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy for Beauty and the Beast
  • 1995 recipient for Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy for The Lion King

National Board of Review Awards

  • 1991 recipient for Best Animated Film for Beauty and the Beast

ASIFA Hollywood Annie Awards

  • 1992 recipient for Best Animated Feature for Beauty and the Beast
  • 1995 recipient for Best Animated Feature for The Lion King
  • 2011 Special Award recipient for Walking Sleeping Beauty

California State University Northridge

  • 2011 Honorary Alumni of the Year

St. Xavier University

  • 2011 Honorary Doctorate
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