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Cartoon Culture

VIDEO: DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg Fights A Lion

Longtime Disney animation producer Don Hahn loves to remind people that DreamWorks CEO (and former Disney exec) Jeffrey Katzenberg almost got mauled to death by a lion in 1994. The incident happened at a Las Vegas video convention in 1994, when Katzenberg was promoting The Lion King.

Hahn brought up the incident, to big laughs, when he was presented with the June Foray Award at last weekend’s Annie Awards.

During his acceptance speech, while rattling off a list of memorable moments he’s experienced throughout his years in animation, he used the Katzenberg moment as a punchline:

I’ve smoked cigars with Roy Disney, had chimichangas with Jame Earl Jones, I’ve had dinner wtih Elton John, played dixieland jazz with Richard Williams, spent a night in a French country inn with Glen Keane, seen Angelina Jolie in horns and leather pants, and seen Jeffrey Katzenberg get mauled by an adult male lion.

Hahn also made sure to include video of Katzenberg’s lion fight in his documentary Waking Sleeping Beauty. That’s where the video below comes from:

That time @dreamworksanimation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg fought a lion. Full story on cartoonbrew.com today.

A video posted by Cartoon Brew (@cartoonbrew) on

Thankfully, the nimble Katzenberg managed to escape the lion’s clutches and went on to become America’s greatest living animation artist. He learned his lesson, too: nowadays the only lions he appears onstage with are on DreamWorks’ payroll:

Jeffrey Katzenberg, 2012. (Photo: drserg/Shutterstock.com)
Jeffrey Katzenberg, 2012. (Photo: drserg/Shutterstock.com)
  • Mal

    Hope the lion checked his pockets after that.

  • J.S

    The good ol’ days.

  • Elsi Pote

    That Lion had a message from Eisner: “You will never be the next Walt Disney, because I am!”