September 24, 1957
Kalispell, Montana, United States
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Brad Bird was born Phillip Bradley Bird on Sept. 24, 1957 in Kalispell, MT. Bird's professional story is often said to have begun when, at age 11, he met Walt Disney Studios animators Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnson during a tour of the studio. Having earned the animators' interest, Bird managed to get their eyes on an original animated short film that he completed two years later. By the time he was 14, Bird had become the protégée of Disney animator Milt Kahl; when it came time for Bird to pursue higher education, Disney awarded him a scholarship to the California Institute of the Arts. Following graduation, he began working for Disney as an animator. His early projects included the short film "The Small One" (1978) and the feature film "The Fox and the Hound" (1981), during production of which Bird was fired for a contentious relationship with upper management. From there, he leapt directly to the world of television, all the while maintaining footing in the film world with projects like "*batteries not included" (1987), which he co-wrote. Bird worked on "Amazing Stories" (NBC 1985-87), helped to develop "The Simpsons" (Fox 1989-), and worked on "The Critic" (ABC/Fox 1994-95) and "King of the Hill" (Fox 1997-2010). Bird made his feature directorial debut with the critically beloved "The Iron Giant" (1999), which earned him a job at the blossoming animation company Pixar, ultimately landing him back beneath the Disney umbrella. With the company, Brad directed and produced the "The Incredibles" (2004), an adventure film about a family of superheroes, and "Ratatouille" (2007), a comedy about a rat who works with a French chef to create gourmet meals. Next, he'd move into the world of live-action directing, helming "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol" (2011), the fourth film in the "Mission: Impossible" film franchise. His next live-action effort, "Tomorrowland" (2015), would prove a critical and commercial disappointment, and Bird would return to animation thereafter. He directed "Incredibles 2" (2018), which ranked among the highest grossing animated films of all time.