One of the most prominent creative forces in the Pixar-led animation renaissance that swept through Hollywood in the 1990s and early- to mid-2000s, Pete Docter first gravitated to animation at the age of eight by creating his own animated flip-books. That experience gave the blossoming artist a deep-seated love of illustration, and he received a formal education in that arena by attending the character animation college program at Valencia-based CalArts. Docter excelled in that venue and attracted attention for his widely praised student shorts, including Next Door (for which he won the student equivalent of an Academy Award), then after graduation went to work for Pixar, becoming the company's third animator. He served as animator and screenwriter on 1995's Toy Story, served as storyboard artist on the 1998 A Bug's Life, and authored the screen story for the 1999 Toy Story 2, before authoring the story and co-directing the 2001 Monsters, Inc.. In 2009, Docter directed the Pixar feature Up, which earned him a Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay and a win in the Best Animated Feature category. The film itself became the first to be nominated in the same year for Best Animated Feature and Best Picture. He served as an executive producer on Monsters University in 2013, but returned to the director's chair two years later with Inside Out. The film was nearly universally praised and nabbed Docter another pair of Oscar noms, again for Original Screenplay and Animated Feature, and he once again won the latter. In addition to his animation work for Pixar and other studios, Docter did a series of animated advertisements for brands and products, including LifeSavers and Tropicana Fruit Juice.
Biography by Nathan Southern
- Won a Student Academy Award At California Institute of the Arts for his animated production Next Door.
- Was the third animator hired by Pixar.
- In 2009, he fulfilled a childhood dream and built a treehouse as his family home, on his San Francisco Bay property.
- Cast his then 9 year-old daughter, Elie, as the voice of her namesake character Young Ellie in the 2009 film, Up.
- An active donor to the Piedmont Education Fund, he held an advanced screening of the Disney/Pixar film Up in 2009, raising $80,000.