Preston B. Whitmore is a character in the 2001 animated feature film Atlantis: The Lost Empire. He finances the expedition to find the lost continent of Atlantis. He reappeared in the 2003 direct-to-video sequel Atlantis: Milo's Return. He is voiced by the late John Mahoney.
Preston Whitmore is an eccentric millionaire, industrialist, and philanthropist. He attended Georgetown University where he met and befriended Thaddeus Thatch, maintaining a lasting friendship until the latter's passing. Both would graduate in 1866 with Thatch becoming an archeologist and Whitmore beginning his rise to financial success with Whitmore Industries.
While Whitmore was regarded as a visionary pioneer through his company's advancement in technological progress, and despite his eccentric personality, Whitmore was an extremely private person. He only made public appearances when necessary. Otherwise, he was reclusive and only allowed those closest to him to meet with him.
He was also a business rival of Eric Hellstrom, who ran a shipping empire; this rival became known as the Modern Odin once he bought a castle in the old country and named it Asgard. After the Stock Market crash, Whitmore lost contact with Hellstrom for many years; he believed his old rival would go insane.
Atlantis: The Lost Empire
“ For years, your granddad bent my ear with stories about that old book. I didn't buy it for a minute. So finally, I got fed up and I made a bet with the old coot. I said, "Thatch, if you ever actually find that so-called journal, not only will I finance the expedition, but I'll kiss you full on the mouth." Imagine my embarrassment when he found the darn thing.'”
~ Whitmore explaining to Milo how Thaddeus got the Shepard's Journal
Whitmore and Thaddeus enter into a bet where if Thaddeus finds the Shepherd's Journal, Whitmore will fund the expedition and even kiss him full on the mouth. In 1911, Whitmore funds the expedition that finds the book in Iceland. Shortly afterward, Thaddeus passes away. Needing a linguist to translate the directions to finding Atlantis, Whitmore has his personal assistant Helga Sinclair retrieve Thaddeus' grandson, Milo James Thatch. He convinces Milo to participate in the expedition in place of his grandfather and even provided everything else such as approval Milo's resignation from the Smithsonian Institute, packing his belongings with his books in storage, and even taking care of his cat Fluffy while he is away.
Whitmore stays behind during the expedition. When only a handful return, they inform him of what has happened. Understanding of situation, he briefs everyone into secrecy of the expedition and to rehearse a false story should any one ask. Whitmore goes over pictures that Wilhelmina Packard took when he comes upon a package addressed to him. Inside is a picture of Milo as a child with Thaddeus, a crystal, and a message thanking him on behalf of the Thatches.
Thanks to the crystal, Whitmore would feel 20 years younger wearing it. "Though that still leaves me pretty old."
Atlantis: Milo's Return
Whitmore would join the others in venturing to Atlantis briefly to inform Milo and Queen Kidagakash of what is happening on the surface. Once the adventure in Krakenstaff was over, he had the group over for dinner at his mansion, offering Milo and Kida the chance to see the world; he would pay for everything. However, Doc Sweet's radioing Packard for help ruined the chance.
During this adventure, an old spear was taken from his home. He called the group together and told them about Eric Helstrom, who he belived was now completely insane; he called previously, begging him to sell the spear a the while raving about Ragnorok. He sent the group to Norway to stop Helstrom before he could end the world.
Once everything had settled down, he joined everyone in Atlantis again and watched as Kida had the city raised above the ocean waves once more. His last lines of the movie suggested the world was better thanks to Atlantis' return to the surface.