Phillip Bradley Bird (born on September 11, 1957 in Kalispell, Montana) is an American Academy Award-winning animator who is known for writing and directing the 1999 Warner Bros. film The Iron Giant and the critical and box office hits The Incredibles (2004) and Ratatouille (2007) from Disney/Pixar.
Bird started his first animated cartoon at the age of 11 and finished it at 13. The film got the attention of The Walt Disney Company where, at 14, Bird was mentored by Milt Kahl, one of Disney’s legendary animators who were known collectively as the Nine Old Men. Bird graduated from Corvallis High School and after a three year break, went on to attend CalArts, where he met future Pixar co-founder and director John Lasseter. He graduated and eventually landed a job at Disney, but left shortly after working on The Fox and the Hound in 1981. Bird was hired in 1989 by Klasky-Csupo and helped develop The Simpsons from one-minute shorts on The Tracey Ullman Show into a half-hour length series. He served there for several more years as an executive consultant. He worked on several other animated television series, including The Critic and King of the Hill before being hired by Warner Bros. to direct the animated film The Iron Giant. Although the film received critical acclaim, it did not do well at the box office. Bird was eventually hired by his old friend John Lasseter to create The Incredibles (in which he also provided the voice of costume designer Edna Mode).
Bird is also the creator (writer, director, and co-producer) of the Family Dog episode of Steven Spielberg's Amazing Stories. In addition, Bird co-wrote the screenplay for the live-action film *batteries not included.
In 2005, Bird won an Oscar in the Best Animated Feature category for The Incredibles, and his screenplay was nominated for the Best Original Screenplay.
In the middle of 2005, Bird was asked by the Pixar management team to take over the directing job on Ratatouille from the previous director Jan Pinkava. This change was announced in March 2006, during a presentation at a Disney shareholders meeting. According to a segment on Good Morning America, Bird plans to direct a live action film after the release of Ratatouille.
Bird has spoken several times about how he considers animation an art form, not a genre as it is commonly treated. In fact, when he and John Walker recorded the DVD Director's Commentary for The Incredibles, he threatened to punch the next person that he caught calling animation a genre. He believes animation can be used to tell any kind of story, not just stories for children.