Dick Cook

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For other people with the same name, see Richard Cook (disambiguation).

Richard W. "Dick" Cook is an American film entertainment executive, and has served on the Board of Directors of Legendary Pictures since 2011.[1] Prior to joining Legendary Pictures, he was the Chairman of the Walt Disney Studios from 2002 to 2009. At the time of his separation from the company, he was the only remaining top Disney executive who had worked for the company since before Michael Eisner took charge in 1984. Cook holds a degree in political science from the University of Southern California (USC).


Cook began his career with Disney in 1970 as a monorail and steam locomotive amusement park ride operator at Disneyland in Anaheim and moved to the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank in 1977 to manage pay television and non-theatrical releases. In 1980, he moved to the company's film distribution department, eventually heading both its distribution and marketing efforts. He earned a reputation there by his marketing of Disney's home video collection and hosting media-worthy movie premieres, for example securing a United States Navy aircraft carrier based in Pearl Harbor to host the debut of the film Pearl Harbor. In 1994, Cook was promoted to president of Buena Vista Pictures Distribution.[2]

In 2002, Eisner named him as Peter Schneider's replacement as chairman of studios, popularly called the studio chief. Cook was in charge of developing, distributing and marketing all films, live-action or animated, released by Walt Disney Pictures, Touchstone Pictures and Hollywood Pictures. Cook was also the executive in charge of the Disney Music Group, which encompasses Hollywood Records and the better known Walt Disney Records. He also oversaw the home entertainment and home entertainment international divisions of the Walt Disney Motion Pictures Group. He was responsible for legal and business matters relating to the studio.

Cook, described by BusinessWeek in 2003 as "the nicest guy in Disney's jungle," is known for his down-to-earth personality and his good relations with Disney's partners, including Jerry Bruckheimer.[3]

On September 18, 2009, Cook stepped down as chairman of Walt Disney Studios, allegedly having been asked to do so by Bob Iger, president/CEO of the Walt Disney Company.[4] He was then replaced by Disney Channel president Rich Ross.

In April 2011, Cook joined the Board of Directors of Legendary Pictures, and served as one of the executive producers of Legendary Pictures' Jackie Robinson biographical film 42. In August 2013, Cook was made Chairman of KCETLink's Board of Directors.[5]

Awards and affiliations[edit]

Cook has served as a USC trustee and as president of the USC Alumni Association (1999–2000).[6] He is a sponsor of the USC Scripter Circle.[7] Cook is on the board of directors for the Will Rogers Institute and the Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation.[8][9] He is a past president of The Chandler School Board of Trustees and past chairman of the Flintridge Preparatory School Board of Trustees. Member of Board of Governors of the Carolwood Pacific Historical Society.

In 1976, Cook was awarded the George Washington Medal of Freedom by the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge. This award is in recognition of individuals "who 'go above and beyond the call of duty' on local, regional or national level projects or efforts that continue at least one year."[10]

In 2004, Cook was awarded the Motion Picture Showmanship Award by the International Cinematographers Guild to honor creative accomplishments in forming, developing, producing or presenting motion picture projects.[11]

In 2005, Cook was awarded the Walt Disney Man of the Year Award, in recognition of "inspiring and positive role models for young people" from within the entertainment community, by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles & the Inland Empire.[12][13]


  1. ^ [Deadline: Dick Cook & Jim Breyer Join Thomas Tull’s Legendary Pictures Board http://www.deadline.com/2011/04/exclusive-dick-cook-jim-breyer-join-joe-roth-on-thomas-tulls-legendary-board/]
  2. ^ "Biography: Richard Cook" (PDF). The Walt Disney Studios. The Walt Disney Company. Retrieved 14 December 2013. 
  3. ^ Grover, Ronald. (December 5, 2003). The Nicest Guy in Disney's Jungle. BusinessWeek. Accessed July 4, 2007.
  4. ^ http://www.deadline.com/hollywood/exclusive-dick-cook-fired-from-disney/
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ USC Alumni Association Past Presidents Accessed July 4, 2007.
  7. ^ Key Attendees - 17th Annual USC Scripter Award February 20, 2005. Accessed July 4, 2007.
  8. ^ Board of Directors - Advisory Members. Will Rogers Institute. Accessed July 4, 2007.
  9. ^ Board of Directors - Advisory Members. Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation. Accessed July 4, 2007.
  10. ^ National Awards Freedoms Foundation of Valley Forge. Accessed July 4, 2007.
  11. ^ Previous Laureates of the Motion Picture Showmanship Award. International Cinematographers Guild. Accessed July 4, 2007.
  12. ^ Dees, Rick. (November 10, 2005). Legendary Radio Personality Rick Dees to Host Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles & the Inland Empire Honoring Top Entertainment Industry Talent at Rising Stars 2005 50th Anniversary Gala on November 11. BusinessWire. Accessed July 4, 2007.
  13. ^ Big Brothers Big Sisters of Los Angeles and the Inland Empire to Honor Top Entertainment Industry Talent at Rising Stars 2006 Gala Accessed July 4, 2007.


Carolwood Chronicle, View From the Cupola.