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Michael Eisner

Michael Eisner (born March 7, 1942) has been the head of The Walt Disney Company since 1984.

Michael Eisner began his career at ABC, moving to Paramount, then to The Walt Disney Company.

During his tenure at Paramount, the studio turned out such hit films as Saturday Night Fever, Grease, the Star Trek film franchise, and Beverly Hills Cop, and hit TV shows such as Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley, Cheers, and Family Ties.

At Disney, he, Frank Wells, and Jeffrey Katzenberg were brought on board to turn the floundering company's fortunes around. In the next ten years the studio became one of the world's largest media companies. Under their leadership, Disney rebuilt its once legendary animation department, and the division had a "golden age" with annual box office hits with such regularity that even their creative structure started to be known as the "Disney formula." Disney also broadened its adult offerings in film with its ventures in Touchstone Pictures, and a noted acquisition of Miramax Films in 1994. This tremendous run culmunated with a surprise announcement by Eisner of Disney's takeover Capital Cities/ABC - A stunning move involving the second largest corporate takeover in history up till that point, the largest in the field of media, with no leaks to the very same media which was involved in the deal. Along with ABC (The number one network at the time), Disney acquired a slew of other media sources, including ESPN.

Eisner's role in this turnaround, and Disney's growth into one of the leading media firms, is a subject to passionate debate by many historians and Disney fans, though he is generally given the bulk of the credit for transforming Disney into a provider of entertainment. Wells died in a plane crash in 1994. Soon after having heart bypass surgery in 1994, he fired Jeffrey Katzenberg. This may have been sparked by Katzenburg feeling that he was owed money, which resulted in him launching a lawsuit which was settled. In 2003, Roy Edward Disney resigned from Disney, accusing Eisner of micro-mangement, failures with ABC, timidity in the theme park business, turning the Walt Disney Company into a "rapacious, soul-less" company, and of refusing to establish a clear succession plan. (Text of resignation letter)

His sons are Breck, Eric, and Joe Eisner.