Damaschke in 2012 at the Rise of the Guardians premiere
November 20, 1963
|Alma mater||Illinois Wesleyan University|
William Damaschke (born November 20, 1963) is the former President of Animation and Family Entertainment for Skydance Media, where he served as the key architect setting the overall creative direction and strategy for Skydance. In conjunction with the company's feature film and television division, he cured and oversaw a team dedicated to producing a bold and original slate of both animated and hybrid family programming. Previously, he had spent 20 years at DreamWorks Animation, most recently as Chief Creative Officer, where he was involved in the creative, artistic, and operational direction of the company. His tenure oversaw the release of some of the company's big franchise films, including Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda, How to Train Your Dragon and The Croods. He also oversaw all of DreamWorks's live theatrical productions, including the award-winning Shrek the Musical. Damaschke’s other projects as a producer include the Broadway musical The Prom, directed and choreographed by Casey Nicholaw, which played at the Longacre Theatre from 15 November 2018 to 11 August 2019; the Broadway-bound musical Half Time, directed and choreographed by Jerry Mitchell, which was presented at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Spring of 2018; and the stage adaptation of Moulin Rouge, directed by Alex Timers, on which Damaschke serves as executive producer.
Damaschke is the oldest of seven children, and grew up in Chicago. He attended St. Bruno Catholic Elementary and Argo Community High School, and graduated at the School of Theatre Arts at Illinois Wesleyan University.
Initially, Damaschke pursued a career in musical theater, working on Godspell in New York, but soon ended up in Los Angeles as a production assistant on Disney's Pocahontas in 1994. In 1995, he joined DreamWorks Studios as a production assistant on The Prince of Egypt. He then moved on to become head of creative production in 1999 and head of creative production and development in 2005. Damaschke served as a producer of Shark Tale (nominated for Academy Award for Best Animated Feature in 2004) and an executive producer of Over the Hedge and Kung Fu Panda. In 2011, he became chief creative officer (CCO) of DreamWorks Animation, running "the factory floor, working with directors, writers and artists," and "calling the creative shots." He was also president of DreamWorks Live Theatricals, and produced Tony Award-winning, but financially unremarkable, Shrek the Musical. In 2013, The New York Times called him as "one of the film industry's most important executives." In January 2015, Damaschke stepped down from his position as Chief Creative Officer at DreamWorks to pursue other interests including: theatrical productions; animated television, movies, web series, and live action films. In October 2017, he became the president of Animation and Family Entertainment for Skydance Media. He would also continue operating his StoryKey Entertainment theatrical production company.
Damaschke lives with John McIlwee, a top Hollywood business manager, in Hollywood Hills, in a 1962 house designed by John Lautner, which they bought in 2002 for $1.3 million and renovated for an additional $1 million.
|1995||Pocahontas||production office assistant|
|1998||The Prince of Egypt||production manager|
|2000||The Road to El Dorado||co-executive producer|
|2006||Over the Hedge||executive producer|
|2008||Kung Fu Panda||executive producer|
|2008–present||Shrek the Musical||producer|
|1994||My So-Called Life||Salesman||Episode: The Zit|
|2001||French touch cinéma||Himself|
- "Bill Damaschke". Cook County Clerk. Retrieved September 10, 2013.
- Barnes, Brooks (July 15, 2013). "The Quiet Force Behind DreamWorks". The New York Times. Retrieved September 10, 2013.
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- Garchik, Leah (December 22, 2010). "Every happy family goes to the show". SFGate. Retrieved September 10, 2013.
- "Star Treatment". Illinois Wesleyan University magazine. 2011. Retrieved September 10, 2013.
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- McNary, Dave (October 10, 2017). "Skydance Hires Bill Damaschke for Animation-Family Entertainment Post". Variety. Retrieved April 6, 2018.
- A. E. Schuker, Lauren (May 24, 2012). "Reviving a Hollywood Icon". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved September 10, 2013.