Don Iwerks
Donald Warren Iwerks

1929 (1929)
Dallas, Texas, U.S.
Known forDisney executive;
Iwerks Entertainment
ChildrenLeslie Iwerks
Parent(s)Mildred Sarah Henderson
Ub Iwerks

Donald Warren Iwerks (/ˈwɜːrks/; born 1929) is an American former Disney executive and co-founder of Iwerks Entertainment along with former Disney executive Stan Kinsey. He is the son of the animator Ub Iwerks (Walt Disney's original business partner and co-creator of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit) and father of Oscar-nominated documentary film producer Leslie Iwerks.


In 1950, Iwerks joined the Disney company in the machine shop as a technician.

In 1954, Iwerks worked as a camera technician for the film 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, starring Kirk Douglas and Peter Lorre. He spent the next 30 years driving film innovations for the Disney company.[1] Notable contributions include the first 360 film techniques, 360-degree camera, and first Circle-Vision 360 film, America the Beautiful, and developing the process for creating seamless live action shots with animated backgrounds.[2]

In 1985, after nearly 35 years at Disney, Iwerks left to form his own company called Iwerks Entertainment. Iwerks became a leading developer of special films, special venues, and virtual reality theaters throughout the world.[3][4]

In 2019, Iwerks published a book titled Walt Disney's Ultimate Inventor about father Ub Iwerks, his career, and his relationship with Walt Disney.[5]


On March 23, 1998, at the 70th Academy Awards show, Iwerks received an Oscar. He was awarded the Gordon E. Sawyer Award, which is given each year by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to "an individual in the motion picture industry whose technological contributions have brought credit to the industry".[6]

On March 21, 1999, at the 71st Academy Awards show, an Oscar for Scientific and Technical Achievement was presented to Iwerks Entertainment for an innovation called the Iwerks 8/70 Linear Loop projection system.

In 2009, Iwerks was inducted by Robert A. Iger and Roy E. Disney as a Disney Legend, honoring him as an individual whose "imagination, talents and dreams have created the Disney magic".[7]


  1. ^ "Don Iwerks". IMDb. Archived from the original on February 17, 2017. Retrieved June 29, 2018.
  2. ^ Camera Processes. "1999 Don Iwerks". Disneyana Fan Club. Archived from the original on February 26, 2021. Retrieved July 21, 2011.
  3. ^ Apodaca, Patrice (March 30, 1993). "The Theater of the Future Is a Virtual Reality". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on November 7, 2012. Retrieved June 3, 2011.
  4. ^ Family Sites Network (March 24, 2011). "Iwerks Entertainment and the Film Projection Systems for Disney parks". The Disney Fun Fact of the Day Blog. Archived from the original on August 14, 2011. Retrieved June 3, 2011.
  5. ^ Iwerks, Don. "Walt Disney's Ultimate Inventor". Disney Books. Archived from the original on January 28, 2021. Retrieved January 30, 2021.
  6. ^ Fact for the Day. "This Day in Disney History". The Walt Disney Company. Archived from the original on July 23, 2011. Retrieved June 3, 2011.
  7. ^ Legend, Bio. "Disney Legends". The Walt Disney Company. Archived from the original on March 25, 2010. Retrieved June 3, 2011.

Further reading