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Linda Woolverton (born 1952) is an American screenwriter, playwright, and author who solely wrote the screenplay for Disney's animated feature film, Beauty and the Beast and co-wrote the screenplay for The Lion King. Woolverton also written the book for the musical adaptation of Beauty and the Beast and assisted in adapting The Lion King to the stage.
Woolverton was born in Long Beach, California, and graduated from high school in 1969. She enrolled at California State University, Long Beach, and receive her master's degree in theater for children at Cal State, Fullerton. Following her graduation from Cal State, Woolverton started her own children's theater, for which she performed, wrote and directed productions that traveled around the nation, while working as a substitute teacher and as an author writing two young adult novels, Starwind and Running Before the Wind.
She also began in 1979, to work as a coach to children acting in commercials. In 1980, she began a four-year stint as a development executive for CBS Television, concentrating on both children's and late-night programming. During the mid 1980s, Linda turned to writing episodes for Saturday morning and syndicated animated programs, such as Ducktales, Chip n' Dale's Rescue Rangers, and Teen Wolf.
During production of Beauty and the Beast, then-Disney CEO Michael Eisner suggested the film to be written by a screenwriter. This was an unusual production move for an animated film, which is traditionally developed on storyboards rather than in scripted form. When one of her novels caught the attention of a Disney executive employed at the Feature Animation division, she was hired to write the screenplay for Beauty and the Beast, with Don Hahn as producer, and Roger Allers as story supervisor. Before storyboarding for the film began, Woolverton wrote the initial draft, and worked with the story team to retool and develop the film. The film went on to be a critical and financial success, and became the first animated film to garner a Best Picture nomination from the Academy Awards.
Two years later, Woolverton signed on to write the screenplay (with Caroline Thompson and Jonathan Roberts) for Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey. For The Lion King, she wrote several early drafts of a script before turning her attentions to write the book for the Broadway adaptation of Beauty and the Beast, which opened in April 1994. The musical was critically praised, and Woolverton was later nominated for a Tony Award for Best Book in a Musical. In 2000, Woolverton would write the book for the musical, Aida, with songs from Elton John and Tim Rice.
Recently, Woolverton co-produced and wrote the screenplay for Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, released in 2010, and is the screenwriter for the upcoming film, Maleficent, which is being produced by Don Hahn.
She is the creator of Mheetu.