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Film producer Jeffrey Katzenberg, who in 1994 cofounded DreamWorks with Steven Spielberg and David Geffen and serves as CEO of the company and overseer of its innovative animated films, was born in New York on this date in 1951. Katzenberg is a product of the Ethical Culture movement and has been married to Marilyn Siegel, a kindergarten teacher, since 1975. He is one of Hollywood’s major funders of Democratic candidates for office, including Barack Obama, and has been a zealous guardian of Hollywood’s property rights. He was chair of Walt Disney Studios from 1984 to 1994, and renewed its reputation for artistry and success in animation through The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and The Lion King. Mother Jones recently called him “the new George Soros” because of his support for liberal PACS and think-tanks.
“Katzenberg and [Sheldon] Adelson have cast themselves as leading men in a new campaign finance picture, where small groups of wealthy donors wield even greater power, cutting monster checks that reshape the parties’ primaries.” —Andy Kroll, Mother Jones