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Remembering Joe Ranft (1960-2005)

On this day, Disney and Pixar legend, Joe Ranft, would have been 50 years old.

Ranft passed away 5 years ago due to a tragic car accident, but his legacy of heartwarming stories and unique characters will never be forgotten. The Princess and the Frog director, John Musker, had prepared a tribute that recounts the late story artist’s life for this occasion.

Appropriately, the touching video is done as a story reel. Watch it below:

R.I.P. Joe Ranft (1960-2005)

We’ll touch on another great tribute when my Toy Story/Toy Story 2 on Blu-ray review is complete. If you want to experience Joe’s work on this day, just pop in your Toy Story DVD or watch clips of Heimlich and Wheezy. Then again, most of Pixar’s (and even some of Disney’s) work has his special charm.

Feel free to share your thoughts on this dearly beloved figure.

0 Responses to Remembering Joe Ranft (1960-2005)

  1. Anonymous says:

    Really touching. Even today Joe’s spirit can be felt in Pixar’s movies — it’s hard to forget the sort of “mini-legacy” he’s left behind. Disney, too. I might just watch A Bug’s Life again today for old time’s sakes…

    —Leirin

  2. I’m embarrassed to admit this, but for me, it wasn’t until after Joe Ranft’s passing did I actually discover how much he has contributed to PIXAR and animation. From the storyboard artist on The Nightmare Before Christmas, to voicing Lenny in Toy Story, the amount of work he has accomplished is staggering. I used to believe this used to be done by an entire team, not one man. I only wish we could have seen a feature heralded by him as it would have been an unbelievable masterpiece.

  3. ArtJoe says:

    That was the essence of story, which was the essence of Joe. I never knew him, but I feel like I did through all of his work and the backstage material Pixar has so generously provided. I was OK until I saw his family, then with the waterworks. It has been a few years, but they have to really be feeling it today. We all miss you Joe, I hope you are are still having fun wherever you are!

  4. Anonymous says:

    John Musker was responsible for getting Joe hired at Disney. Joe’s immense body of work at Disney, on “Great Mouse Detective,” “The Little Mermaid,” “Rescuers Down Under,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Aladdin,” and “The Lion King” as well as “Brave Little Toaster” are often overlooked.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I really loved this tribute, brought a few tears to my eyes, but he really did leave such a great impression behind for us all to enjoy. I’ll always be grateful for that.

  6. uruseiranma says:

    I sometimes wish I had written a letter to Mr Ranft, but I have been terrible about sending correspondence to people in the art business (I never did send a letter to Charles Schulz). But I loved the specials regarding Toy Story, and loved watching the story reel pitch regarding the Army Men sequence, as well as hearing about Mr Ranft’s strange and crazy wit. I still think it was his influence that really made Cars what it was, despite the rather large amount of negativity towards it. Though I do remember that after I heard he had passed away, I posted somewhere, ‘he has become ze beautiful butterfly.’ And the last bit in this clip reminded me of that.

  7. Mitch says:

    This is such a beautiful tribute. John Musker did a lovely job of incorporating the heart and soul of Joe into this piece.

    I never did get to meet Mr. Ranft, but my dad was a friend of his for many years. He always spoke of him fondly and was crushed when he heard the news. Joe certainly touched the lives of many people. I wish I could have known him.

    Thanks for posting this up! :)

  8. Anonymous says:

    seetieu tyfd

  9. mnmears says:

    Here’s the story behind the video, which was completed in less than a month between Joe’s initial memorial and the one held at Pixar.

    From John Musker:
    “Saturday March 13, 2010 legendary Disney and PIXAR story artist Joe Ranft would have been 50 years old. Joe was one of the prime creative storytellers at PIXAR and contributed greatly to Toy Story, A Bug’s Life, Cars, and at Disney, Nightmare before Christmas among others. He was the voice of Wheezy the penguin and Heimlich the Caterpillar and a talented magician to boot. Joe was tragically killed in an automobile accident 5 years ago. I am a friend and colleague of Joe’s who attended a memorial for him where I heard many entertaining stories of Joe’s past. How he was expelled from Catholic school in the first grade for spitting at a nun. How he was fired from his high school job at Farrell’s ice cream parlor for dripping a torrent of blood ( in fact raspberry topping) down his shirt before horrified customers. How John Lasseter got him a gag set of false teeth which he had Joe uncork at chichi watering spots. I was asked to speak about Joe at a later celebration of Joe held at PIXAR , and inspired by these stories I literally drew them up and put these sketches together in a little film. There are also caricatures in this piece of other coworkers and the family Joe left behind: wife Su, and children Jordy and Sophia. Leo Holzer, a fan of Joe’s, suggested I post this as a tribute to Joe to be shared by his fans around the world. The music I boarded this to is a song written by Bob Dylan and performed by Madeleine Peyroux, who very graciously gave me her permission to post this. The full original song can be heard on her CD “Careless Love” on Rounder Records, which I highly recommend. Here’s to the wonderful and inimitable Joe Ranft. I miss you.

  10. Mitch says:

    mnmears – Sweet story. Thank you for posting that up. :)

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