Michael Peraza was born on November 15, 1955 in New Orleans, Louisiana. He is an award-winning Cuban-American animator, art director, conceptual artist and historian of animation, who has worked for The Walt Disney Company, Fox Features, and Warner Brothers.
He became interested in Disney animation after watching Sleeping Beauty, Pinocchio and Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color. After graduating high school, he continued his education at the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), an art college that was established by Walt Disney. Peraza was accepted at CalArts in 1973 before Disney had begun their Character Animation program. He later became one of the first people to join the program once it was started. Directly after CalArts, Peraza accepted a full-time career in Walt Disney Feature Animation. While working for Disney Features, he became known for his advanced integration of computer animation. He went on to contribute to animated Disney films, including The Little Mermaid, The Great Mouse Detective, Beauty and the Beast, Mickey’s Christmas Carol, Aladdin and Who Framed Roger Rabbit as well as visual development for live-action movies such as Watcher in the Woods, Tron and Return to Oz. Peraza helped start the Disney Television Animation unit. He started the CGI animation department while developing Disney shows, including DuckTales, Darkwing Duck and TaleSpin, as well as creating the character Max Goof, and the series Goof Troop, which were adapted for the animated films A Goofy Movie and An Extremely Goofy Movie. Peraza worked as art director and conceptual artist for the production of sequels, including Jungle Book 2, Tarzan 2 and Return to Never Land.
As a Disney Master Artist, he speaks at special events about experiences in the entertainment field. He received the Friz Freleng Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Family Film Festival in 2014, and the Disneyana Fan Club Legend Award in 2018. Currently, he continues his work with Warner Brothers and Disney Television Animation.
He resides in Burbank, California.