Birthday: September 24, 1957
Age: 63 Years, 63 Year Old Males
Sun Sign: Libra
Also Known As: Phillip Bradley Bird
Born Country: United States
Born in: Kalispell, Montana, United States
Famous as: Animator
Height: 1.73 m
Spouse/Ex-: Elizabeth Canney
father: Philip Cullen Bird
mother: Marjorie A. Bird
children: Jack Bird, Michael Bird, Nicholas Bird
U.S. State: Montana
education: California Institute Of The Arts
Who is Brad Bird?
Brad Bird is an American animator, director, screenwriter, producer and voice actor who is best recognized for his work on animated films such as 'The Iron Giant', 'The Incredibles', 'Ratatouille' and 'The Incredibles 2', all of which he wrote and directed. He won two 'Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature' for 'The Incredibles' and 'Ratatouille', and also earned nominations for 'Best Original Screenplay' for both. He directed the Tom Cruise-starrer blockbuster live action movie 'Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol' and directed, produced and co-wrote the George Clooney film 'Tomorrowland'. Mentored by legendary Disney animator Milt Kahl, he briefly worked at Disney Studios before moving to television. While he has worked on several television shows, his most significant contribution to the small screen was developing 'The Simpsons' into a full series. He is currently working on an original musical film with animations and is still hopeful for his long-shelved pet project, a film adaptation of James Dalessandro's historical fiction '1906'. He owns the production company A113 Productions, named after his classroom at CalArts.
Childhood & Early Life
Phillip Bradley Bird was born on September 24, 1957, in Kalispell, Montana, United States, as the youngest of four children and the first son of Marjorie and Philip Cullen Bird, and was raised in Oregon. His Irish-born grandfather, Francis Wesley 'Frank' Bird, was president and chief executive of the Montana Power Company, but his father, who worked in the propane business, cared less about money and sold their big house.
He had a fertile imagination and possessed excellent drawing skills as a child, and was determined to join Disney's animation team after meeting Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston at the Walt Disney Studios at 11. Animator Milt Kahl became his mentor after his father convinced him to send to Disney his 15-minute animated short, 'The Tortoise and the Hare' where the tortoise was the villain, which he completed at 13.
He worked with Kahl, one of Disney's 'Nine Old Men', during his school holidays as he completed his graduation from Corvallis High School in Corvallis, Oregon in 1975. Following a three-year break, he earned a scholarship to attend California Institute of the Arts, founded by Walt Disney, where he became a friend of future animator and Pixar co-founder John Lasseter.
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Following graduation, Brad Bird joined Disney as an animator and had uncredited contributions to animated films such as 'The Small One' (1978), 'The Fox and the Hound' (1981), and 'The Black Cauldron' (1985). He worked from a small suite of rooms, dubbed 'The Rat’s Nest', with some dissenters supporting Eric Larson, and was fired during the production of 'The Fox and the Hound' for criticizing lack of quality.
Moving to television, he worked as an animator on 'Garfield on the Town' (1983) and was the writer, director and co-producer of the 'Family Dog' episode of Steven Spielberg's anthology series 'Amazing Stories' (1987). Also in 1987, he co-wrote the screenplay for the live-action film 'Batteries Not Included' by Matthew Robbins.
After joining Klasky Csupo in 1989, Brad Bird served as the executive consultant on 'The Simpsons' and helped in expanding it from a one-minute short on 'The Tracey Ullman Show' to a full-fledged series. He worked on the series for the first eight seasons, during which period he also directed the episode 'Krusty Gets Busted' and co-directed another episode, 'Like Father, Like Clown'.
He continued to work on several other television series such as 'Rugrats', 'The Critic' and 'King of the Hill', and expanded his episode from 'Amazing Stories' into its own series, 'Family Dog', which was short-lived. He subsequently convinced Warner Brothers to let him write and direct his first animated film, 'The Iron Giant', which earned critical acclaim despite its lower budget, but failed commercially due to insufficient marketing and promotions.
He was roped in by Steve Jobs to work for Pixar and went on to write and direct the 2004 animated superhero film, 'The Incredibles', which was a breakthrough success both critically and commercially. The film, which earned him an 'Academy Award for Best Animated Feature' and a nomination for 'Best Original Screenplay', also featured his voice for the character Edna Mode, the superhero costume designer.
His next project 'Ratatouille', which he again wrote and directed, was released in 2007 and became another top-grossing Pixar film praised by fans and critics alike. He won two 'Best Animated Feature' awards for the film at the 'Oscars' and the 'Golden Globes', apart from another 'Best Original Screenplay' nomination at the 'Academy Awards'.
Impressed with his work on 'The Incredibles', actor and producer Tom Cruise, with the help of J.J. Abrams, signed Bird to direct 'Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol', the fourth installment in the successful franchise. The 2011 film, his first live-action venture, became another commercial and critical hit, grossing nearly $700 million internationally.
In 2015, he directed, produced and co-wrote the Disney science fiction film 'Tomorrowland', starring George Clooney, but it failed at the box office and earned mixed reviews from critics. Returning to Pixar, he next wrote and directed the sequel 'Incredibles 2' (2018), another major success which nearly doubled the gross earnings of the original film released 14 years ago.
Family & Personal Life
Brad Bird is married to writer and film editor Elizabeth Canney since 1988 and has three sons with her: Michael, Nicholas, and Jack Bird. His oldest son Michael has provided voice in 'The Iron Giant', 'The Incredibles' and its sequel, while Nicholas has also voice acted in 'Finding Nemo' and the two 'The Incredibles' films.
His older, sister Susan, was shot and killed by her estranged husband when he was working on 'The Iron Giant' in 1998. The tragedy prompted him to make adjustments to the story of the film to include a message against gun violence.
His works are often compared to the writings of American-Russian author and philosopher Ayn Rand, who had developed the philosophical system of 'Objectivism'. While he admitted to going through Rand’s novels in his youth, he denied her influence on his work, labeling such allegations as "lazy piece of criticism".
He has been very vocal about his indignation towards categorizing animated films as kids' movies and often engages in conversations on social media about such practices. He believes that animation as an art form can be used to tell any kind of story for both children and adults, and should not be classified as a separate genre.