Michael D. Eisner ’64
B.A., Denison University
Citation awarded May, 2014
Michael Eisner has been a leader in the American entertainment industry for four decades. He began his career at ABC, where he helped take the network to number one in primetime, daytime and children’s television. In 1976, he became president of Paramount Pictures, turning out a string of critically acclaimed blockbuster films. In 1984, Michael assumed the position of Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, transforming it into a global media empire valued at $100B.
In 2005, Michael founded The Tornante Company; a privately held company that invests in and incubates companies and opportunities in the media and entertainment space.
Through Tornante, Michael founded Vuguru, an independent studio that develops and finances story-driven content. Vuguru programming has been distributed in over 40 countries. In the U.S., Vuguru has multi-project licensing and distribution deals with AOL, Hulu, YouTube and Yahoo!
In October 2007, The Tornante Company and Madison Dearborn Partners, LLC. acquired The Topps Company, Inc., a leading creator and marketer of sports and related cards, entertainment products, and distinctive confectionery items. Additional companies within the Tornante portfolio include LLC’s Activate, Tornante Animation, WhoWhatWear, Task Rabbit, Zumbox and AirTime. In 2013, Netflix acquired animated comedy BoJack Horseman from Tornante, the streamer’s first adult-oriented animated original.
Michael has authored three books: Work in Progress, Camp, and WORKING TOGETHER: Why Great Partnerships Succeed.
In 1996, Michael and his wife, Jane, founded The Eisner Foundation, which provides access and opportunity for children and the aging in the United States.
Born March 7, 1942, in New York, Michael graduated from Lawrenceville School in 1960 and Denison University in 1964 with a B.A. in English Literature and Theater. He serves on the boards of the California Institute of the Arts, Denison University, American Hospital of Paris Foundation, the Aspen Institute, the Yale School of Architecture Dean’s Council, IAC/InterActiveCorp, the Michael D. Eisner School of Education, and the Eisner Pediatric and Family Medical Center.
He and Jane have three sons, Breck, Eric and Anders; three daughters-in-laws, Georgia, Stacey and Terena; and six grandchildren, Noah, Eloise, Grace, Easton, Scarlet and Michael Patrick.