Irene Mecchi (born September 21, 1949) is an American screenwriter and playwright, whose prominent works include screenplays for several Disney animated films. She co-authored the screenplays for The Lion King (1994), The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996), and Hercules (1997). With co-author Roger Allers, she received a 1998 Tony nomination for writing the book for The Lion King stage musical.

Irene Mecchi
Born (1949-09-21) September 21, 1949 (age 74)
San Francisco, California, United States
OccupationScreenwriter, playwright, television writer
Alma materUniversity of California, Berkeley[1]
American Conservatory Theater[1]
Notable works



Mecchi was born in the third generation of her family that lived in San Francisco, California. She attended the University of California, Berkeley, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in theater.[1] Early into her career, her aspirations to direct theater led her to study at the American Conservatory Theater, where her instructor, Joy Carlin, was impressed with her writing and encouraged her to pursue it on a full-time basis. She agreed.[2]

Her first work began when she wrote a series of children's programs for Nickelodeon such as By the Way.[3] Mecchi's first network writing assignment was on the Emmy Award-winning Lily Tomlin special, Lily: Sold Out.[2] Her later television credits also include Valerie, The Popcorn Kid, and My Sister Sam. Along with that, Mecchi researched and wrote a play drawn from newspaper columnist Herb Caen's witty observations of San Francisco. The play was "work-shopped" at the American Conservatory Theater that led Mecchi to edit two books of Caen's writings, which were published in 1992 and 1993.[2]

In March 1992, Mecchi began her association with Disney, when she wrote an animated educational short called Recycle Rex. The short film encouraged younger viewers to "recycle, reduce and reuse" waste materials. During the summer of 1992, Mecchi was brought on board to polish the script for The Lion King, which was pitched to her as "Bambi in Africa".[4] Several months later, she was joined by Jonathan Roberts during the rewriting process of the screenplay.[2] Together, both writers tackled the unresolved emotional issues in the script, and brought additional comedy with Timon, Pumbaa, and the hyenas.[2]

Following her work on The Lion King, she co-wrote the screenplays of The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Hercules. Also, she re-teamed with Roger Allers to co-write the book for the Broadway musical adaptation of The Lion King, to which they were nominated a Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical.[5] She would later re-team again with Allers to contribute additional screenplay material to The Lion King 1½.

Mecchi served as the co-screenwriter for the Pixar film, Brave, which was co-directed by Brenda Chapman. In June 2013, Chapman stated she and Mecchi were developing Rumblewick at DreamWorks Animation, which went unproduced.[6][7] In November 2014, it was announced Mecchi was co-writing the screenplay for Lucasfilm's animated musical film, Strange Magic.[8] That same year, she wrote the teleplay for NBC's Peter Pan Live!,[9] in which she revised the characterization of Captain Hook.[10]




Year Title Notes
1994 The Lion King With Jonathan Roberts and Linda Woolverton
1996 The Hunchback of Notre Dame With Tab Murphy, Bob Tzudiker, Noni White, and Jonathan Roberts
1997 Hercules With Ron Clements, John Musker, Don McEnery, and Bob Shaw
1999 Fantasia 2000 Live-action segments
With Don Hahn and David Reynolds
2004 The Lion King 1½ Additional screenplay material
2005 Chicken Little Uncredited rewrite[further explanation needed], special thanks
2012 Brave With Mark Andrews, Steve Purcell, and Brenda Chapman
2014 The Prophet Additional dialogue
2015 Strange Magic With Gary Rydstrom and David Berenbaum


Year Title Notes
1979 By the Way
1986 Valerie Episode: "One of The Kind"
1987 The Popcorn Kid Episode: "There She Is, Vic Damone"
1988 My Sister Sam Episode: "It's My Party and I'll Kill If I Want To"
1992 Hi Honey, I'm Home Episode: "Elaine Takes a Wife"
1999 Annie Television film
2014 Peter Pan Live!


  1. ^ a b c "Irene Mecchi". Stanford Center on Longevity. Retrieved January 17, 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d e "The Lion King: Production Notes". Walt Disney Pictures. May 25, 1994. Archived from the original on October 26, 2008. Retrieved August 30, 2019 – via
  3. ^ By The Way- Ultra-rare/lost Nickelodeon show from 1979, Intro & Host Segments. Archived from the original on 2021-12-21. Retrieved August 30, 2019 – via YouTube.
  4. ^ "The Belles of Broadway: A Continued conversation with Irene Mecchi (The Lion King) and Winnie Holzman (Wicked)". No Meaner Place. Archived from the original on November 17, 2016. Retrieved August 30, 2019.
  5. ^ Shirley, Don (May 5, 1998). "'Ragtime,' 'Lion' Top Tony Nods". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 30, 2019.
  6. ^ Schavemaker, Peter (June 11, 2013). "An Interview From Abroad with Brenda Chapman". Animation. Retrieved August 30, 2019.
  7. ^ Failes, Ian (September 26, 2016). "Life After Pixar: An Interview with Brenda Chapman". Cartoon Brew. Retrieved August 30, 2019.
  8. ^ Wolfe, Jennifer (November 11, 2014). "Disney Announces George Lucas' Animated Musical 'Strange Magic'". Animation World Network. Retrieved August 30, 2019.
  9. ^ Grady, Pam (December 2, 2014). "A dream takes flight for 'Peter Pan Live!' writer". San Francisco Gate. Retrieved August 30, 2019.
  10. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (November 26, 2014). "NBC Hopes 'Peter Pan Live' Can Fly to New Heights". Variety. Retrieved August 30, 2019.