Disney Digital Pioneer Bob Lambert Dies at 55

Lambert was a founder of the consortium that pushed movie theaters to convert to digital projection

Digital media executive Bob Lambert died suddenly Friday at his home in Glendale, his family announced this week. He was 55, and a cause of death was not given.

During his 25 years at the Walt Disney Company and through his associations with various industry organizations, Lambert was a major force in pushing the film business to embrace a digital future.

He played key roles in overhauling Disney's approach to creating its animated hits and altering the way those movies are projected on the big screen.

Lambert was a senior executive at Disney until 2010, with a portfolio of projects ranging from movies to television to e-commerce and gaming. In his final post, He was the senior technology executive in charge of strategic planning,intellectual property, patent strategy, standards and regulatory issues and talent recruitment.

Lambert was also a founder and chairman of DCI, LLC, the six-studio consortium that helped push movie theaters to abandon film projectors in favor of digital exhibition. In that capacity, he helped create a set of uniform standards for digital projection. 

While working for Disney Feature Animation, Lambert helped develop a way to replace cel animation with CGI production, later tapping  Pixar to design the software and help create the digital production system.

“I am deeply saddened by the passing of Bob Lambert," Motion Picture Association of America CEO Chris Dodd said Tuesday in a statement. "A pioneer for both the creative and tech communities, Bob led us into the transition from celluloid film to digital, and forever improved the quality of our films and our movie-watching experience.”