Bob Lambert, a digital media executive for Disney, died suddenly at his home in Glendale on Friday, his family announced this week. The digital pioneer was 55 when he died of causes unknown at this time.
Lamberts 25 year stint at the Walt Disney Company saw him as a driving force behind pushing the film industry into the digital future.
As an executive for Disney, Lambert played key roles in overhauling the companies approach to creating its animated hits and altering the way those movies are projected on the big screen.
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 doing so, he helped create a set of uniform standards for digital projection.
A senior executive at Disney until 2010, his portfolio of projects ranged from movies to television to e-commerce and gaming. Lamberts last career title was senior technology executive in charge of strategic planning, intellectual property, patent strategy, standards and regulatory issues and talent recruitment.
While employed by Disney Feature Animation, Lambert helped develop a way to replace cell animation with CGI production. He eventually worked with Pixar to design the software and help create the digital production system.
He recently served as CEO of the Digital Firm in Los Angeles and was named executive vice president of strategy and innovation for the World Technology Network. Prior to Disney, he was executive director of development for Paramount Pictures, according to Variety.
Lambert was an active member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences' Technology Council and a fellow of the Society of Motion Picture & Television Engineers. He also served as a judge for the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Technology & Engineering Emmy Awards.
"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."