When Gary Goldman met Don Bluth at Walt Disney Studios in 1972, they formed an instant friendship, soon realizing that they both shared the desire of restoring the heritage of classical animation to today's animated films, their friendship eventually turned into a creative partnership that has lasted over 30 years.
Born in Oakland and raised in Watsonville, California, as a youth, Goldman studied piano and enjoyed model-making and drawing. Before devoting himself entirely to the arts, he served as an electronics technician in the United States Air Force (1962-1967). He received his Associate of Arts Degree (1969) from Cabrillo College near Santa Cruz, California, and in December, 1971, he graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Life Drawing and Art History from the University of Hawaii.
In early 1972, he began his career in animation when he joined Walt Disney Productions. His first assignment was as an "in-betweener" to legendary Disney animator Frank Thomas on the film Robin Hood (1973). He then worked alongside Don Bluth, as an animator, on Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too (1974) and The Rescuers (1977) before serving as directing animator on Pete's Dragon (1977) and The Small One (1978).
In an effort to accelerate their skills in preparation for leadership assignments within the Disney organization, Goldman and Bluth began to probe every aspect of animated production. United by the same goal of restoring the lost techniques of classical animation, Goldman and Bluth, with animator John Pomeroy, produced (in Bluth's garage) the classically animated television special Banjo the Woodpile Cat (1979) (TV). It took four years, working nights and weekends. It won the National Film Advisory Board Award for excellence and the Golden Scroll Award from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films. Using what they learned on their "GARAGE" project, they implemented their techniques on projects at Disney. Divided by disagreements over story and production values, Goldman, along with Bluth and Pomeroy, resigned from Walt Disney Productions to establish their independent animation studio, Don Bluth Productions, Inc. (1979).
Since leaving Disney, the team produced several feature films, starting with The Secret of NIMH (1982), which won the Saturn Award for 'Best Animated Feature' from the Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Film Academy. Their follow-up effort, An American Tail (1986), ushered in a new era of success for the full-length animated feature, becoming the highest-grossing animated film of its time. The film's theme song 'Somewhere Out There', also received two Grammy Awards and an Oscar nomination for 'Best Original Song'.
Goldman was producer on the animated laser disc interactive video games, Dragon's Lair (1983) (VG), Space Ace (1984) (VG) and Dragon's Lair II: Timewarp (1991) (VG). "Dragon's Lair" received the Inkpot Award for the 'First Interactive Laser Disc Arcade Game' and an Arkie Award for the 'Best Arcade Audio/Visuals'. Dragon's Lair has experienced an incredible tenure as a popular interactive game on 16 different platforms for home entertainment. It remained in the top 10 sales through 1999. The title is in final stages of production (September 2002) as a 3D game for PC, MAC, Sony Playstation 2, Nintendo's Game Cube and Microsoft's Xbox.
In 1986, Goldman and Bluth moved their entire operation, including 87 employees and their families to Dublin, Ireland, at the invitation of the Irish Government. Their third feature film The Land Before Time (1988), was their first production created entirely in Ireland. Released by Universal Pictures during the 1988 Thanksgiving holiday, it achieved a record-breaking opening weekend gross for an animated film.
In August 1994, Goldman returned from Ireland to head up the Fox Animation Studio located in Phoenix, Arizona where he shared the creative leadership with Don Bluth. The first production completed by the studio was the award winning, family favorite Anastasia (1997). Also produced at the Phoenix studio was, the direct-to-video animated musical, Bartok the Magnificent (1999) (V), and the animated science fiction film, Titan A.E. (2000).
In 1999, Goldman, with Don Bluth, John Pomeroy, Rick Dyer and David Foster formed a new company, Dragon's Lair LLC. The company was formed to develop new 3D games, starting with a revamp of the hit 1983 game Dragon's Lair. Goldman and Bluth have reestablished their independence with their production company, Don Bluth Films, Inc., based in Phoenix, Arizona. They are in pre-production on "Dragon's Lair" as a feature film. They have developed several feature film concepts and short stories for a direct-to-video library. The company has established a web site, www.donbluth.com, where they will communicate with their audience on a personal level, and will provide animation information on-line. Gary Goldman has been a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences since 1976.