Carl F. Macek came to public attention in 1985 as the producer and story editor of the influential animated television series Robotech, which he produced for Harmony Gold USA. Robotech is considered one of the titles most responsible for igniting anime fandom in North America and internationally. Macek intended to produce a sequel to Robotech, Robotech II: The Sentinels, but this project was canceled. While at Harmony Gold, Macek also produced the little-known, rarely seen Captain Harlock and the Queen of a Thousand Years (which combines the almost-unrelated stories of Space Pirate Captain Harlock and Queen Millennia).
Macek went on to co-found (with Jerry Beck) Streamline Pictures in 1988. Joining him were writers who had worked with him on Robotech, most notably, Steve Kramer, Tom Wyner, Gregory Snegoff and Ardwight Chamberlain, each of whom are also experienced voice actors. Streamline Pictures was one of the first American companies to successfully deal in the regular production of imported Japanese animation. Among the titles released by Streamline are Lensman, Robot Carnival, Doomed Megalopolis, Twilight of the Cockroaches, Crying Freeman, Wicked City, the Fist of the North Star film, Akira, Lupin III: Mystery of Mamo as well as the original English dub versions of Hayao Miyazaki's Lupin III: Castle of Cagliostro, Laputa: Castle in the Sky, My Neighbor Totoro, and Kiki's Delivery Service. As of 1993, Streamline Pictures distributed their anime through Orion Pictures and was eventually purchased by Orion in 1996. Both companies are now defunct.
He was working as a scriptwriter for the English dub of Naruto and Bleach for Viz Media, and consulting for Harmony Gold on Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles before his death.
Macek was a co-editor of McGill's Survey of the Cinema and Film Noir—An Encyclopedic Reference to the American Style (1979). He authored The Art of Heavy Metal: Animation for the Eighties and Robotech Art 3: The Sentinels in which he chronicles in detail the conception and what went wrong during the production of the latter aborted animated series. He also worked as a scriptwriter for the animated series C.O.P.S. and was the executive consultant for the animated film Heavy Metal 2000. He recently wrote the animated adaptation of Brian Pulido's Lady Death.
Macek adapted the treatment by Merian C. Cooper (the producer of King Kong) for the unproduced film project War Eagles into a novel and screenplay in 2008. The book was published in the summer of 2008 by Angelgate Press.
Macek became one of the most controversial figures amongst English anime fandom. Streamline Pictures-dubbed anime were among the first to be available on home video as well as broadcast on cable. Over the years, he has seen his share of detractors and proponents, for while he did help to bring Japanese-Animation titles and series to the United States, his edits, re-rewrites and mash ups (particularly The Robotech Saga) angered many fans of the original titles and series. To this day, Anime fans still remained divided between appreciation and scorn for his work.
Jerry Beck, one of Macek's former business partners, revealed that Macek died of a heart attack on Saturday, April 17, 2010. Barely three months before his sudden death, Macek recorded a lengthy two and a half hour podcast interview with Anime News Network, offering an extensive retrospective on his entire career.
His brief obituary in the Los Angeles Times reported the place of death as Topanga Canyon. The obituary shows a picture of him surrounded by several Robotech characters from all three series.
After his death, a short documentary, Carl Macek's Robotech Universe, was produced.