I watched a lot of cartoons and movies. I draw incessantly and carry a sketchbook everywhere. I work in animation and self-publish my books. There are monsters in the streets, don't wear red. Mad bulls and monsters hate that color. I still watch cartoons.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Joe Ranft 1960-2005


Last drawing I did of Joe in our Story Leads meeting, July 2005

Joe Ranft died from a car accident last night. He was the very first Head of Story in feature animation and I've had many talks with him about how that came about--but the likely reason that this position continues to be necessary is because he defined the role from the very beginning and is still the very best example of how to do it. To the benefit of all subsequent feature endeavors he had been part of and all future HOS's that have had to do the job anywhere. Mighty big shoes.

When I entered the building I saw Mari, Bill and Gaylyn at the stairwell, all visibly dealing with heavy emotions. It was only when Kevin Reher walked me into my office and told me I figure why. I got the wind knocked out of me. It is a massive surge of disbelief, I cannot process it still. I searched out the story people I've served with, Jason Katz, Jim Capobianco, Matt Luhn...People cannot say much but just gave each other embraces to quell the sadness. Eventually we all met at the atrium. It is the saddest day at Pixar. The population at work had never been this silent, heavy stillness except for the sounds of grief. Ed Catmull, visibly shaken walked out to deliver the sad news. John Lasseter stood beside him but could not speak.

Joe is the very best story man ever and the best human being I've known in animation. He is mentor, friend and inspiration to all of us who do this job. The last meeting I had with Joe was a Story Lead meeting where we share the collective known knowlege of those of us who've done Head of story jobs. Great stories of how to and why. And we earmark things we want to improve. As always with Joe it was about accentuating the positive and finding what works with people. I will miss him.

Our heartfelt prayers to his family.



__________________________________________

Pixar intranet employee listing for Joe Ranft lets you know that he was Born on March 13, 1960 and was hired at Pixar on October 5, 1992. Under this he writes in the generic getting-to-know-you questions:

What do you do at Pixar?
I draw storyboards

What did you do before you came to Pixar?

I drew lots of storyboards

What do you do when you're out having fun?
I try not to draw any storyboards, but sometimes I can't help myself.

What is your favorite quote?
"Developing a picture from back to front is a work habbit which, once aquired, becomes one of the artist's most valuable tools.
-Don Graham

__________________________________________

Cartoon Brew
Hollywood Reporter
Animation Nation
Luxo

Wikipedia: Joe Ranft

_________________________________________



Ronnie,

Joe's brother Jerome Ranft called me early this morning, asking me to tell as many people as I could, in the LA area, about Joe's sad, untimely and tragic passing. My day has been spent breaking this horrible news to people who had not heard. I can honestly say this has been the saddest day in my 22 year career in animation. Joe and I worked together many, many times and I will never forget him. He was a true credit to his profession and there was never anyone better at it. My thoughts and prayers are with all his friends and family.

I join you in your sadness. This is a great, great loss.

Kelly Asbury

______________________________________


(David Silverman writes)

Brother Ronnie -

We're all in a state of shock down here in LA. Your thoughtful words are a great comfort. Joe was such an extraordinary artist, teacher, and friend -- one of the nicest people ever to stroll the planet. He has entertained millions who have no idea how much Joe touched them. He has influenced legions of artists, and will influence legions more.

Getting to work closely with Joe was an honor and an education. And a hell of a lot of fun.

A sad sad day for us all.

--Old Davy

_______________________________________


(Ruth Ann - Joe's Sister said...)

A friend of mine forwarded this link to me yesterday. I can't tell you how much your kind words about Joe mean to all of us. My parents arrived here last night. They are devastated. My mother stayed up and read all of your comments. It was a great comfort.

Joe was not only my big brother, he was one of my best friends. I will miss him.

_______________________________________






94 Comments:

Blogger Chad Kerychuk said...

Nicely put Ronnie. Thoughts to you, Pixar, and Joe's family and friends.

Sad, sad news. :-(

4:00 PM

 
Blogger "E"rik James Olsen said...

My prayers go out to Joe's family, you ronnie, and the pixar family. ....erik

4:26 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The news hit me very hard this morning. I wasn't expecting it at all. I was very lucky that I got to meet and talk with Joe during my internship. He was very generous and helpful to me.

Thank you Joe.

We'll miss you.


--Justin

5:19 PM

 
Blogger John said...

Disney fans, Pixar fans, and fans of Animation everywhere are in mourning. Thank you for the nicely put words.

6:16 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this hardly seems possible. what an absolute tragedy. Joe was the most creatively generous person around. my heart goes out to his loved ones and all our close colleagues who were lucky enough to be touched by him.

6:42 PM

 
Blogger The James said...

Sad sad day in animation. All our thoughts and prayers go out to Joe's family and the Pixar family. For everyone out there take a moment to remember him and continue what he's taught all of us because if we don't then his memory will be forgotten.

We'll all miss him.

9:09 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Toy Story changed the way people looked at animated movies and Joe made it all happen. His unexpected passing is a shock. M heartfelt condolences go out to his family as well as all his colleagues at Pixar. Be strong Ronnie.

9:27 PM

 
Blogger Ward Jenkins said...

What a heavy day. So sorry to hear of the loss of such a powerhouse. Even though I have never met Joe, I feel that I have through reading your words as well as through the stories and comments from all the other people who were lucky enough to work with the man. My thoughts and prayers go out to Joe's immediate family as well as to his animation family at Pixar.

9:44 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ronnie,

Joe's brother Jerome Ranft called me early this morning, asking me to tell as many people as I could, in the LA area, about Joe's sad, untimely and tragic passing. My day has been spent breaking this horrible news to people who had not heard. I can honestly say this has been the saddest day in my 22 year career in animation. Joe and I worked together many, many times and I will never forget him. He was a true credit to his profession and there was never anyone better at it. My thoughts and prayers are with all his friends and family.

I join you in your sadness. This is a great, great loss.

Kelly Asbury

9:48 PM

 
Blogger Ronnie said...

Thanks to everyone for your posts. It means a lot to us at work and certainly to Joe's family to know how many lives he's inspired out there. All of these will be read.

Kelly, man, this has been a day. I couldn't even bear to look at Brenda this morning. By the time I did run into her in the afternoon we were all wrung out. It must have been quite the day for you, my friend, having to be the bearer of sad news. You're family up here at the studio and you know that. We will see you soon. Be well and regards to all down there.

R.

11:18 PM

 
Blogger Paul said...

Ronnie,

What sad news. Joe was a tremendously talented man and a wonderful storyteller. Thank you for posting such a thoughtful memory of him.

11:51 PM

 
Anonymous David Silverman said...

Brother Ronnie -

We're all in a state of shock down here in LA. Your thoughtful words are a great comfort. Joe was such an extraordinary artist, teacher, and friend -- one of the nicest people ever to stroll the planet. He has entertained millions who have no idea how much Joe touched them. He has influenced legions of artists, and will influence legions more.

Getting to work closely with Joe was an honor and an education. And a hell of a lot of fun.

A sad sad day for us all.

--Old Davy

11:52 PM

 
Anonymous Jenny Lerew said...

Ronnie,
I read this news in the union email this morning at work and just stumbled down the halls not believing it at *all*, it couldn't be true, impossible. NOT Joe. At those times you just want to see and speak with someone about the person who's been so rudely and horribly yanked away. Joe was so, so important to all of us at CalArts-how incredibly lucky we were to have him--for story! And just he, himself. Many's the time I've thought of him, mostly while he's been up there, and been tickled at each new success, each addition to a wonderful body of work--because it couldn't happen to a more modest, generous, funny, witty, warm person as Joe. I'd counted on running into him one of these days, soon, to give him a hug, have a long-overdue chin-wag, along with many overdue thanks(that'd probably embarrass him). He was obviously a huge influence on *everyone* who met him. What an unconscionable, heartbreaking loss. If there is anything to be done for his family in any way, let us know.

12:21 AM

 
Anonymous Ruth Ann - Joe's Sister said...

A friend of mine forwarded this link to me yesterday. I can't tell you how much your kind words about Joe mean to all of us. My parents arrived here last night. They are devastated. My mother stayed up and read all of your comments. It was a great comfort.

Joe was not only my big brother, he was one of my best friends. I will miss him.

7:47 AM

 
Blogger Kodiak said...

I am deeply saddened of this tragic loss. I fell in love with Joe's characterizations, of Wheezy, Jaques, and Heimlich, and could feel his energy and warmth when watching behind-the-scenes footage of him during the production of various Pixar works. The entire creative community is saddened.

My thoughts and prayers go to his family, friends, his co-workers at Pixar, and all those who were fortunate enough to know him. Thanks to him, Pixar's works have become dear to all our hearts. Thank you Joe, for warming our hearts and igniting our imaginations.

You are sorely missed.

7:52 AM

 
Blogger Monkeyfeather said...

What a sad day for animation... truly one of the greats. I didn't know him personally, but he was an inspiration.

John

8:22 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My husband used to work with Joe a while back. Since then Joe's been his mentor, his teacher and a father figure to him. He's one of the nicest people I've ever come in contact. He always went out of his way to help people, especially the ones who are less fortunate. I still can't believe this is real. I'm very very deeply saddened by the news.

Thank you Joe for everything you have done for us! You'll be dearly missed!

8:32 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a friend of people who work at Pixar and a mother of a child who thinks Heimlich the catepillar is the greatest guy ever......and has made me watch all the extras on "A Bug's Life" repeatedly, I felt like I had a pretty good handle on the magnitude of Joe's contribution to the world. He had a lot more to give, but what he did give in the years he had was amazing. Thank you John Lasseter for providing him a vehicle for his talents so that he could share them with the world. Thank you Joe for sharing all your special gifts with us.

8:49 AM

 
Blogger philro said...

Joe Ranft touched so many lives with his stories. Thanks Ronnie for your willingness to share with us how this has affected you and people close to Joe. Our thoughts and love to Joe and his family, and those who loved him and his work.

9:39 AM

 
Anonymous Shelby Cass said...

Ronnie,

Thank you so very much for posting this lovely homage to Joe. ...Joe.

Joe.

It can't be.

My sister called yesterday because she remembered after I left Pixar that Joe had asked her how I was and to say hi for him. I remember the warm feeling I got when she told me Joe had asked about me. I can't describe the feeling I had and still have in waves and shivers when she told me he was gone.

I spoke with Neftali who also called to tell me what had happened, and found out that Joe was, as usual, off to do charitable things for kids when this happened.

Joe touched the hearts and lives of so very many people...he has affected hopes and dreams around the world. I was so lucky to get to know him, and so fortunate to have a soul like his in my life.

That doesn't stop the pain. Silver linings are hard right about now.

Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help in any way. I can only imagine what the Pixar community is feeling right now, and I wish there was something I could do to make it all better.

Perhaps Joe has his wings and we all look like little ants from up where he is.

Love, sympathy, and hugs,
Shelby

10:15 AM

 
Blogger Justin Hilden said...

Gut wrenching. My condolences to his family and all those at Pixar.

10:27 AM

 
Blogger bethbr said...

My deepest sadness goes out to Joe's wife Sue, their children, family and co-workers. I met them in an Inward Bound seminar years ago and was affected by their openess and friendship. Joe's talent was great and will be remembered forever. From a fellow artist, you will always be an inspiration...Godspeed, Joe. I am better for having my life touched by yours.

10:51 AM

 
Blogger Brian "My Fault" Nicolucci said...

Just horrible. My thoughts go out to Joe's family, friends and everyone whose lives he touched.

10:53 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I worked as a story artist on Toy Story 2, and now I teach animation and story. Although I hadn't seen Joe in a number of years I felt like I still worked with (and learned from) him.

In my preproduction classes I often show clips from the Pixar "extras" dvds. In particular, one from Bug's Life where Joe pitches a board to John and Andrew. I always use this as an example of "the right way" to pitch a board by the top man in the business. I show lots of examples by Joe and his hero Bill Peet. Every time I show and discuss his work I find something new to say to my students, and I always learn something new.

It's been a number of years since I worked at Pixar, but I can well imagine the grief and sadness there, because I'm feeling it right now.

Charles Keagle

11:27 AM

 
Blogger FemmeDykeBlogger said...

To say Joe was an incredible man is an understatement. He touched so many lives, mine included. I consider myself privileged to have worked with him. I think what I loved most about him was his heart and his laughter.

I left Pixar in 2002 -- six months later, I received a few posters signed by Joe with some drawings. I wasn't expecting these and they brought me so much happiness.

He was a giving, kind, generous soul and will be sorely missed.

12:34 PM

 
Blogger bloomsday said...

The first time I met Joe was at the annual Pixar Kiddies parade that takes place the day after Halloween. This was back in the old Richmond building and we were sitting on benches outside the little kitchen area near the animation pit. Joe was sitting at a table with his beautiful children and I sat down across from him with mine. We talked about parent stuff, general stuff, nothing in particular. I had no idea who he was, I just knew that I was instantly comfortable with him and that he was one of the sweetest men I had ever met.

Just before I got up to leave, I remembered than other than telling me his name, I had no idea what he did at Pixar, so I asked. His response, "I work in Story." Totally humble, down to earth. Later on, I put two and two together and figured out that for many here, Joe simply was STORY.

Lovely man, devastating loss to us all.

1:27 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so sad to hear this. My deepest heartfelt condolences. May his wonderful memory bring comfort to his family and friends.

3:55 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

-lisa/slurpee

3:55 PM

 
Anonymous paul byrne said...

As a journalist, I've visited Pixar a number of times, and found it to be just about the happiest workplace on the planet. A big part of that is the people there, especially people like Joe. I can't pretend to know him, but whenever I talked to Joe about his work, I always wished I did.
My thoughts go out to everyone a Pixar, and to Joe's family and friends...

4:12 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didn't know Joe. He is, however, part of the reason I got into the animation field. I saw his storyboards at the old Richmond place. Now, as an animator, I always watch the extras on the DVD's and I'm pretty sure Joe was on all of them. The extras have been a great educational tool and I always remembered Joe pitching the stories. I loved how he would get into these characters and make them his own. I can say that it showed that he loved what he did. Thanks Joe. The world loves you.

4:24 PM

 
Anonymous Paul Mica said...

Hey Ronnie,

Thank you for giving me an outlet to grieve so far away from home. I will truly miss Joe. Sad that the last time I saw him was at Dan Lee's gathering at Pixar. We had a cry and hug. I will miss him. I'm sure I'm not the only one down here in Sydney missing him. My love and prayers are with him and his family.

The planet spins a bit slower today.

Much Love,

Paul Mica

5:39 PM

 
Blogger ThatDarnViking said...

No, No, No.....
No! Damnit. All I can say is No.
Damnit. NO.

---Eric Hedman.

5:39 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I never personally met Joe but was lucky enough to attend the Toy Story presentation at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con. His enthusiasm was never more evident than when he talked about the joy of working on a project. He will forever be to me Heimlich the Caterpillar and to hear him do the voice in person was a wonderful treat for both myself and the crowd. He was a person who never let his inner child go away. We are fortunate that his legacy will be here forever. I was overwhelmed to hear of his passing. My thoughts and prayers go to his family, friends and everyone at Pixar.
God speed Joe!

Steven Howearth

5:58 PM

 
Blogger Jessica said...

I was blindsided by the news, and every hour or so it hits me again and everything else is diminished by the scope of this unthinkable tragedy. Joe was one of the kindest, most open-hearted and -minded, and most generous mentors it's ever been my fantastic luck to encounter. In every minute of every borrowed hour (and he *always* made time when I needed him, despite the sometimes space-time-continuum challenging nature of his schedule) Joe imparted years' worth of lessons, tips, wisdom, and encouragement. My heart goes out to his family, and to everyone at Pixar.

7:08 PM

 
Anonymous Pascal said...

Goodbye Joe, and thank you for the light you brought to my darkest years.

Thoughts to the people who love and miss you.

7:30 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The humour and fun of Pixar's family of work is today's answer to the storywriting brilliance of the Looney Tunes masterpieces of the past.

May Joe's spirit live on as tribute through those artists and writers who carry on.

8:37 PM

 
Blogger Luxo Jr. said...

He will be missed very much. Truly a great man and as others have said "The King of Story"!

8:56 PM

 
Anonymous Ed McCray said...

I just read the news earlier tonight completely unexpected and it knocked me by surprise. Although I never knew or even met Joe he has played a big role in my life. Nearly all of my favorite animated films I grew up with and inspired me to get into animation he had a hand in. Whenever I work on a new project I think of the standards Joe has set in the animation industry for storytelling. All I can do is listen to “The Time of your Life” from “A Bug’s Life” and tear up. Many of my mentors have passed away in recent years but the passing of Joe is a complete and total shock and has hit me harder than the passing of anyone else. God bless you, Mr. Ranft and I hope you’ll go one entertaining your Creator like you entertained all of us people on earth whom you touched without ever knowing it. My prayers will be with your friends and family.

- Ed McCray

9:07 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didn't know Joe personally, but he has been a huge inspiration to me. I can't believe or understand how such an incredible talent and incredible human being could be taken away like this. My deepest heartfelt sympathies to his family, friends, and the Pixar team.

10:24 PM

 
Anonymous Leo N. Holzer said...

I thank God for the gifts of laughter that Joe gave to millions all around the world through his work at Disney and Pixar.

I never got to meet Joe in person, but interviewed him twice as a journalist. I remember the passion he had for his work, his gentle way of putting others at ease and his quick wit.

He will be missed by his family at Pixar, his best friend and boss John, his immediate famuly, and, most sadly, by his wife, Su, and their two children.

His work will entertain people for decades to come for it's classic and timeless comedy.

My heartfelt condolences to those feeling the loss so much deeper than I can even imagine.

11:52 PM

 
Blogger Drazen said...

So sorry to hear about this and my heartfelt condolences. I obviously only new Joe through his work and the lovely drawings and inspirational little quotes in the making of books like "the Nightmare before Christmas" but I always remember the bio on him in "Paper Dreams" and him mentioning his sabbatical in the northwest and recovering from a period of burnout. I always admire that ability to step back and even more to have come back and produced even better work I
imagined him to be an incredibly cool guy. Sorry again for your loss. His creative energy is certainly felt and remembered by those who never got to shake his hand.
-drazen

8:04 AM

 
Blogger ThatDarnViking said...

Shake his hand. OMG.
I was standing there in the lobby on a dreary Emeryville day...and Jerome said, "You've met my brother, right?" and I turned and there he was. I shook his hand and he smiled at me. Down at me. And I am 6'4". A story giant. A story Saint. He said hello, I said Hi. But I wanted to say so many other things. In times like that I just act friendly, as opposed to like a happy puppy dog. I know how much Joe has meant to people, especially his friends and family. To me looking up into his smiling face, even though it was tinged with sadness on that day, it was more like His heart was shining out through his smile and his eyes. It just radiated. Like "happy lines" on a drawing.

Tom Sito was the guest pro at the Women in Animation Storyboard Pitch Practice night last night. He said so many wonderful things about Joe during the start of the evening. Even interjecting how he thought Joe might have done something, down to the using the pointer.

But all around...damn.

---eric hedman

10:49 AM

 
Blogger Yaxin said...

I'm respectfully sorry for you troubles.
and like we say in mi languaje:
Te acompanio en el sentimiento.

sincerely

Man Arenas

12:26 PM

 
Blogger Ron said...

I had the fortunate luck to live next door to Joe and get to know him and his family, while he made Toy Story. I will miss his great sense of humor, his incredible kindness and his phenomenal talent.
Our heart goes out to you Sue, Jordy and Olivia.

6:40 PM

 
Blogger Karry said...

I'm just a fan of the movies - never met Joe, but I do remember him from some behind the scenes footage. Paper airplanes come to mind....

Heimlich and Weezy had some great character voices. Joe had an amazing talent.

I am sitting here and yes - crying for someone I never met.

Dear Joe,
I never met you. I know your work. You will be greatly missed

-Karry

6:51 PM

 
Blogger Freeze_Dried_Brilliance said...

Woody, Buzz, and myself tip ours hats to Joe as he moves beyond. Missed he will be.

6:58 PM

 
Anonymous Rhonda said...

so sad...a truly great talent who will be remembered always in his films and in our hearts

8:59 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been reading all these wonderful words and so very moved that everyone else loved him as much as I did. I first met Joe as a teenager in Whittier, when my dear friend Jerome and I would sneak into his room and go through his flipbooks and sketches. I particularly remember a character of a sick evil little boy doing sick evil little things that made me laugh so hard I cried. I knew him as the cool older brother who treated everyone as family, who came to our BBQs and drank with us at our beach parties and always made us laugh. He never changed!

When "Beauty and the Beast" came out, I took my friend Adrienne to see it, and was thrilled to see Joe's name so prominently. I started to tell her all about him, and then tell her about Jerome, and suddenly realized that she needed to marry Jerome, and I was right. They've been happy together for years now. So in so many ways Joe's talent literally touched and shaped lives.

I also remember hanging out with Joe and his family at their house, and how he showed me a video of an animation involving desk lamps . . . He was so excited about this new company he was about to work for, for the potential he could see in it, the visionary that he was. And he was right! I've been so proud of him and all his accomplishments, and his contributions to Pixar, which he helped to shape into a family that accepts even outsiders like me. . . and so deeply in love with the films he helped create . . . What an outstanding legacy he's left behind.

I'm driving up from L.A. tomorrow to be there for the memorial, so perhaps I'll meet some of you there. It's been a rotten week for all of us, so we'll all need to dispense Joe-style bear hugs like pez.

Nancy Blaine

9:05 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am writing as a fan of Pixar and animation in general. What I love about Pixar was more than its creativity, talent and technical skill. I love the heart and humanity that is there. One important example is the "Bugs Life" Big City, where, instead of ads for Lion King and Coke (which can bring in million$ -*Dteamworks*- in revenue), there were names of the animators' kids. I assume Joe's kids were there on Broadway. I viewed all the Pixar DVD extras, and Joe Ranft stood out as a talented, funny and terrific guy.
The last time I cried over a creative person's death was when Jim Henson passed away.
It seems like Pixar has had more than its fair share of tragedy. I don't know why the good die young. I never knew him, but I will sorely miss him.

11:26 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I never knew Joe personally, but from what I have seen and read of him over the many years I've been a Pixar fanatic, I've always thought he was the most magical of people. I so envy everyone who called him friend and those who called him family, and I am so very sad for what happened. But I am also so grateful that someone like him was able to do so much in the much too short time we had him in this world. We can only now be inspired and motivated by the towering example he set.

12:31 AM

 
Blogger Aylward said...

This is tragic news indeed. He has left us before his time at the tender age of 45. It hurts to think that the potential joy he would have spread to billions the world over in the next 20+ years through film will never happen. But not as much as it hurts to think of his family, his wife and two children, who will obviously miss him him unbearingly.
My prayers and thoughts are with Joe's family, friends & everyone at Pixar.

I never met you Joe but thankyou for your loving contribution to film, it will never be forgotten.

I am very sad.

aylward

4:44 AM

 
Blogger The Moth said...

RDC-

I physically hurt when I heard the news -- I only met Joe a few times, but he was always friendly & kind. I feel the loss in someone I aspire to be creatively -- giving, selfless, humble & damned talented. I feel the loss for you guys, who lost a friend & mentor. I feel the loss in the work he created -- the dialogue and voice performances I laughed at, and the drawings of great things.

I wish all of this wasn't so.

One of my favorite funny bits from "Toy Story 2" is Wheezy's line as Woody tucks him under the dog's collar, "Bless you, Woody."

Bless you, Joe.

John Mathot

1:36 PM

 
Anonymous Mrs. Muriel Berg said...

It was room nine at La Colima School in Whittier, California. Joe was in third grade. It was Christmas Time, and my class was all excited becauase we were presenting Twas the Night before Christmas, for the parents on our last afternoon before Christmas vacation. Joe, who was playing Santa fell and broke his arm. He was a wonderful Santa with one arm in a cast. I shall never forget you, Joe. Later on when you were a little older, you brought great magic tricks to entertain my class. Even as a young child, you were blassed with a certain magic. I will miss you until we meet again.Mrs. Muriel Berg. 3rd grade teacher.

8:06 PM

 
Anonymous Paul said...

I'm so sorry.

5:18 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ronnie:
Thank you for your words on my cousin Joe. Can not belive he is gone. Just a month ago both he and his son Jordan wear in our house. Had all of us laughlin. If more people were like Joe we would all be better for it. It was not just Pixar loss but society as well. Rest in peace Joe. Tommy in Boston.

9:01 AM

 
Blogger Heather said...

Hi,

I am not a personal friend, but someone who was touched by Joe's work, by being an avid Pixar fan. He helped put the soul back into animation when others create animation without the soul.

My family and I await anxiously for new Pixar movies and watch them till they are worn out. Joe will always be remembered by his family, Pixar, and fans.

Thanks for everything and God Bless you and your family.

Truly is a sad day.

Heather

3:16 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My deepest sympathies go out to Joe's family & friends. Here is to a life well spent . . .

4:51 PM

 
Blogger Michael said...

Hi all. I write as a film student and admirer of all the beautiful work the Pixar group has done. I've never met any of you folks, but wanted to share my condolences with you and Joe's family. Words fail at times like this, of course, so I will only say that Joe's work brightened my life, illuminated so many areas of the craft of visual storytelling for me, and made me want to be a filmmaker. Hardly a day goes by where some aspect of his work doesn't touch me and family for the better. It's the little details he added that made the whole seem so much richer. His characterization of Jacques, for example -- now here is a tangential character, what does he have, three or four lines? -- but Joe's voice work is so very rich. And the incredible, rock solid structural integrity of Pixar's storytelling -- I mean, if only the rest of the world's filmmakers could bring their work even close, how much the art form would benefit!! I've gone one too long. I will miss seeing Joe's sections on the Pixar DVDs of course, but even more, I will miss his enormous contribution to filmmaking.

10:07 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Like many others, I simply know Joe through the oft-watched and re-watched features on my Pixar DVDs. It's people like Joe, with so much passion and joy for the craft of visual storytelling who inspired me to quit my job and move to start a new career in the industry. Though I never knew him personally, his genuine warmth and character is so very evident on the DVDs, and his contributions so enriched the movies I love so much that I can't help but cry knowing he's gone.

My thoughts and prayers to his family and friends.

Sydney, Australia

12:23 AM

 
Blogger Musegal said...

I was at the memorial today, as someone
who was working. I also worked at the premiere party for "The Incredibles", which was such a celebration. What irony!

I recently lost my father. When I learned I'd be working at this memorial my first thought was,"oh no, the last thing I need, another memorial". It was hard to hold back tears when I heard the poweful song/allegory before the Ave Maria was sung.
I was deeply touched by this story. It was told beautifully, and it was wonderul how the story-teller
led everyone to join in the song.I would like to know where this story comes from, so I can retell it. If there is someone who either knows the origin of the story or who can connect me with someone does I would be deeply appreciative. My email is musegal@yahoo.com.

After being at the tribute, and reading all so the news stories from so many different communities, andreading several blogs about Joe, I have a real sense of Joe. My heartfelt condolences go out to
all his creative colleagues, coworkers, and to
all who are touched by this tragedy. Last but not least, my prayers go out to his immediate family.

1:52 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm very saddened to hear about this, especially after Dan Lee. I never met Joe Ranft, but many colleagues of mine have worked with him from former animation studios, and I always heard such great things about his character as a coworker and artist that I assumed he was older. What an accomplished and talented life for someone so young. Much love to all his family and friends.
-AM

4:41 AM

 
Anonymous will said...

This is such a terrible loss to the world and the animation community. My thoughts go out to his family, both at home and at work.

11:28 AM

 
Anonymous John Gardiner said...

Dear Ranft Family,

It's been years, but seems only like a short time ago when we last saw each other. It was crushing to read about Joe's death. The headline "Memories of Joe Ranft" brings tears every time, especially when thinking of Ruth and Ruth Ann. Please know you are all in my thoughts and a very heavy heart. Memories of Joe will always be ones of a wonderful, kind-hearted person. I love you all very much.

John

4:21 AM

 
Blogger Bill Tiller said...

II was floored; just floored. I just yelled "No! No way! No F***ing way. Not Joe!"
I found myself wondering why I was so devastated, and crying so much. Joe and I never worked together, though I did see him from time to time when I would visit Skeleington or Pixar. He was my teacher for two years as well, but that was so long ago. Why am I so utterly crushed?
The I stared to talk to people about him and what he had meant to me and I realized how much he had influenced me as a person and an artist.
He brought in to Cal Arts three children's books that inspired me so much. I still read them to my kids, hoping they get as inspired by them as much as I did.
He taught me not only story but how to get through a tough project and how to stay inspired- How to work with and trust your team- How to inspire each other, and support each other's ideas.
He taught me to never be satisfied, and to push my art even further than I thought possible.
Not only was he great teacher, he was just such a wonderful, caring human being. He always treated me as if I was as important as anyone else. Made me feel good to see him.
His life just touched so many people. I am just devastated. And I am really pissed I will never get the chance to work with him too.
But I do count myself lucky to have had him as my teacher.

George Bailey couldn't have influenced more lives than Joe. Thanks Joe, I miss you.

3:37 PM

 
Blogger Lea Hernandez said...

Ronnie, I'm sorry for the loss of your friend Joe.

"Toy Story" helped me reach out to my son, who was sinking in undiagnosed autism until the day I bought and played the "Toy Story" soundtrack to him.
I wish I could've told him this myself. As I wrote earlier today, how many people can pass through this world having saved someone else's life. Joe's work, and the work of everyone at Pixar, helped me reach my son when nothing else did.

I'm so, so sad. Not for the beautiful past, but a future without Joe Ranft. Please pass along my condolences to his families.

Be well, my friend.

9:48 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Paul Chadwick here.

I knew Joe at the dawn of his career. Disney had plucked him from CalArts at age 19. His brilliance was evident even then, and they had the good sense, even in those floundering Ron Miller days, to get him on board.

He made even the never-broadcast shows we were working on, the "Epcot Futureworld Specials," something special and hilarious. Just hanging out with him was entertaining, too...like many of the best in the animation biz, he was a walking cartoon when he was "on."

I also remember he had a deep appreciation for others's talents, too. He was always looking to learn.

His subsequent success was no surprise. His death, however, is a shock.

So long, Joe. Thanks for sharing your brilliance.

10:25 PM

 
Blogger Toni Z. said...

I met Joe along time ago at a gym and had the honor of training him for awhile and then we did thing together as in double dating. We had so much fun with Su and Joe, could not be around him enough. When i heard the news of Joe's accident i went straight to my closet and got out a shirt from Bugs Life that Joe had signed and put a sweet message on it for me. I still can't absorb this tragedy and my heart is so sad. I know that every time i think of greatness i will think of Joe. You will never be forgotten. Toni Z.

1:17 AM

 
Anonymous jo-ann said...

I have many childhood memories of Joe and the Ranft family. I was babysat by Pat next door and spent all my days with the Ranfts. I fondly remember Joe putting on magic shows and playing the acordian. I know that Ruth Ann and I got on his nerves alot being the only girls in the house. LOL! He still let us hang out with him. My heart goes out to the family..a family that will always be a large part of my childhood. RIP Joe!!!
God Bless.
Jo-Ann(Hebert)Mullin

9:10 AM

 
Blogger Basket Of Puppies said...

I only just heard. My thoughts are with Joe's friends and family. I'm just a fan, and never met Joe, but I appreciated his work... like just about the whole rest of the world.

Rest peacefully, Joe.

11:09 PM

 
Anonymous kitty said...

i want the tales to continue
i choose you joe
as my corpse bride sweepstakes entry

6:26 PM

 
Anonymous ludwick said...

It has been six weeks since Joe Ranft passed away.
Left behind are the physical pieces he created, the story ideas executed on screen, the memories of his coworkers and, most of all, his loved ones. It makes me sad that not only is there unconceived mastery that will never be realized, but incomplete exchanges with those he loved. When an artist passes away, so much passes away with him.
Six weeks isn't that long. I have admired Joe Ranft from the precipice of words in books and I feel melancholy; I can't imagine what his loved ones must be feeling right now. I can only offer prayers - I'm sorry.

1:40 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I first heard the news (my friend was an intern at the time, so I heard it from her), I just broke down and cried. Joe and his son came to my last CSSSA session (an arts summerschool program held at calarts; they've got a 52 student animation program, so his lecture was pretty intimate). When I told everyone from my department the news (the session has sadly ended for now, so I let people know by email), no one believed me. I was accused of making a horrible joke, and in a way, I really wish that's all it had been. Joe had a huge impact on us, some more than others - one of my friends from CSSSA apparently attended the memorial ceremony at Pixar. He gave us his time and his lessons for what makes a good story - as it turns out, HE asked to come and speak, not the other way around. It is so touching to know that this man had faith enough in his art to pass on such words to us young students, most of us still in highschool. This man's skill in story was just phenomenal. It's still hard to deal with, but I find that as artists, perhaps the best way to honor his memory is to push the limit with what we do - and in terms of story, not stick to the formula. We've got to be true to ourselves in the end.

I had the honor of working with Joe on fixing my film's story along with one other returning CSSSA student. His input was just what I needed.

His memory is with us all.

-Zoë Moss

1:47 AM

 
Blogger Adam said...

An animation hero.


Joe was my highest inspiration within animation, I've wanted to be like him, draw like him and influence like he did since I first read his name on the credits.

This really knocked me back. It's unimaginable that his talent will no longer grace the screen.

The only consolence we can have is the positive influence he has made to so many peoples lives.

12:14 PM

 
Anonymous Pete said...

I grew up with Joe. We were in the same grade and shared many classes, boys scouts, sleepovers camping trips together. He was without a doubt the kindest, sweetest, talentest and funniest guys I ever knew. One memory is of me and Joe in the same summer school drama class together and being told to sit outside because we were talking and laughing so much. While we were sitting there Joe turned to me and said "come on, lets go to my house and have a sandwhich". So we got up and ran across the street to where Joe and his wonderful family lived knowing that nobody was home. Joe made us both a sandwhich and then showed me how he could roll a quarter across his knuckles along with a couple of more amazing magic tricks. Needless to say that his mom came home early and we had to hide in his back yard until we could make it back to the school. Another memory was of us on a boyscout overnight camping trip. I was to be ignitiated that night by the other scouts and I was so scared that I was afraid to go to sleep for fear that they would put me in an outhouse and tip it over. Joe, who was very big even as a kid, stayed up with me as my bodyguard and made sure nobody came near me. Of course he teased me forever about it but that is the kind of guy Joe was. He had a great sense of humor and was the nicest guy I ever knew. He was one of the strongest kids I ever knew too. Other kids would challenge him because of his size and Joe would kill them with kindness. One kid who insisted on pushing him too far found out the hard way that Joe had his limitations with bullys. That kid told me a few months ago when we were talking about Joe that "Joe was the only guy ever to kick my ass". The last time I saw Joe was at our high school 10 year reunion. He told me and my wife that he was leaving Disney for a new company called Pixar that he was helping to form. What a success story!!! I was reading a letter from our 3d grade teacher Mrs. Berg and I had to laugh because it brought back such fond memories of Joe as Santa Clause with a broken arm at our christmas play. I never knew the "animator and voice over" Joe. I regret that. But I did know the wonderful talented kid who shared my childhood with me. God Bless Joe's entire family. He will be truly missed.

10:54 PM

 
Anonymous Pete said...

I grew up with Joe. We were in the same grade and shared many classes, boys scouts, sleepovers camping trips together. He was without a doubt the kindest, sweetest, talentest and funniest guys I ever knew. One memory is of me and Joe in the same summer school drama class together and being told to sit outside because we were talking and laughing so much. While we were sitting there Joe turned to me and said "come on, lets go to my house and have a sandwhich". So we got up and ran across the street to where Joe and his wonderful family lived knowing that nobody was home. Joe made us both a sandwhich and then showed me how he could roll a quarter across his knuckles along with a couple of more amazing magic tricks. Needless to say that his mom came home early and we had to hide in his back yard until we could make it back to the school. Another memory was of us on a boyscout overnight camping trip. I was to be ignitiated that night by the other scouts and I was so scared that I was afraid to go to sleep for fear that they would put me in an outhouse and tip it over. Joe, who was very big even as a kid, stayed up with me as my bodyguard and made sure nobody came near me. Of course he teased me forever about it but that is the kind of guy Joe was. He had a great sense of humor and was the nicest guy I ever knew. He was one of the strongest kids I ever knew too. Other kids would challenge him because of his size and Joe would kill them with kindness. One kid who insisted on pushing him too far found out the hard way that Joe had his limitations with bullys. That kid told me a few months ago when we were talking about Joe that "Joe was the only guy ever to kick my ass". The last time I saw Joe was at our high school 10 year reunion. He told me and my wife that he was leaving Disney for a new company called Pixar that he was helping to form. What a success story!!! I was reading a letter from our 3d grade teacher Mrs. Berg and I had to laugh because it brought back such fond memories of Joe as Santa Clause with a broken arm at our christmas play. I never knew the "animator and voice over" Joe. I regret that. But I did know the wonderful talented kid who shared my childhood with me. God Bless Joe's entire family. He will be truly missed.

10:56 PM

 
Anonymous Shirley Samarin said...

Dear Ranft Family,
I knew Joe at Granada Jr. High in La Mirada and Monte Vista High School in Whittier, CA. I was in art classes and art club with Joe. He was always sketching. (Quite often leaving "KILROY" behind.) He worked on our 10-year class reunion . . . always ready to lend a creative hand. We were so proud that he worked at Disney. I caught up with him again a couple of years ago at Pixar. He was so happy! So kind! So funny!
I just heard the traggic news on the OSCAR's "In Memoriam" of all places. Although this happened last year in August, I am hit just as hard tonight! My heart is breaking for everyone's loss. Joe you were a class act! Thank you for being my friend. My prayers are with the Ranft family tonight. God Bless.
Shirley Vickonoff Samarin
Monte Vista Class of 1978

8:13 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

March 13th
Happy Birthday Joe!
Here's to you!
We will always love you.
— Friends of Joe

7:13 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have only just heard the news of Joe's passing, and almost a year on, it is still such sad news. Have gave so much love and heart to the stories he worked on, his contribution will resonnate forever in the history of animation.

-Pixar Fan

8:13 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just saw Cars in the movie theater with my 2 1/2 year old son. I was shocked and saddened to see the dedication to Joe Ranft, and I cried right there in the theater. I never met Joe. All I know of him is what I saw on special features of Pixar DVDs, but I will always remember watching him pitch the clown scene from A Bug's Life. I don't know if anyone knew he would be the voice for Heimlich at that point, but I could sense his warmth as he laughed at his own jokes.
A year may have passed, but I know the void is still there. To all the people who actually knew Joe, please accept my prayers and sympathy.
-Jeremy, a Pixar Believer

6:28 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know he had kids. I hope their doing ok.

4:40 PM

 
Anonymous Sylvia said...

Sorry to hear of Joe's passing. we only heard it tonight after watching Car's the video.
Sylvia 11/24/06

2:38 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. What a tribute to an extraordinary man. I did some research after watching Cars and am saddened with the news of Joe's passing. Although time, love and compassion are the only healers, Joe's family and loved ones got a heavy dose of love and compassion with this site. I hope that Joe's family is doing well.

10:12 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For allways giving us joy, love and pleasure in movies; it is sad to hear that a good person has passed away in such a brutal manner.

May the love, laughter and warmth that we feel from the animated movies shine on those who where close to Joe Ranft forever.

My deepest condolences goes out to all the Ranft family, the animation studios and those who held Joe in their hearts.

A good man has been lost.

Best of love from Denmark

Bjarne B. Karlson

2:32 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was brought to my attention by my 4 & 5 year old boys. It's amazing how one person can make suuch a big difference in this world. Thank you for dedication to making others happy. Our heartfelt prayers go out to his family and friends.

The Matos Family

9:26 AM

 
Anonymous Carolyn said...

I feel horrible that I only found out about this yesterday while watching Cars with my sister. We both loved Heimlich so much, my mother especially as she would always tell people that someday, they too would become beautiful butterflies... and then everything would be better.

Even though I've found out only now, I am still deeply moved and I most certainly miss him. Thank you for so much, Joe.

12:54 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

eu só soube que Ranft morreu após ter um pouco de curiosidade e de vir ver à net quem era Joe Ranft a quem faziam homenagem, e queria saber de que morreu, foi então que eu fiquei a saber e não gostei da notícia pois tudo aquilo que ele fez foi valorado e aposto que ele ainda tinha muito para nos mostrar, só espero que ele consegui mostrar aos sere inanimados, que nós imaginamos, aquilo que lhe mostrava mostrar a nós. E quero também deixar uma mensagem para que todos condução com segurança, cuidado e confiança, para que nunca mais tenhamos um desgosto como este de alguém próximo ou longe. SOU DE PORTUGAL. (e ainda assim fiquei triste)

11:39 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

im from a little country in europe.From Greece,sorry for my bad english but the only thing that i can say about this man and his job is that he made,make and will make people with big smiles!
Have a nice trip!!

6:10 PM

 
Anonymous Althea Wills said...

I had to say something even if no one sees this. I am simply a fan. My sons are two and five, and of course, I have seen every Disney/Pixar film at least 50 times. I am also a published novelist and I have always been impressed by the high quality of storytelling in the Pixar films. So when I saw the dedication to Joe Ranft at the end of Cars, I was shocked. I've been wondering for over a year, "what happened?" So today, I looked him up on Wikipedia. I was so saddened when I read how he died. Then I was shocked again because I saw that he died today, August 16, two years ago. Considering what I do for a living (I do intuitive readings), I guess I'm not surprised. I want to say to Joe that you impacted me in ways I never expected. You, John, Andrew, and the rest of the Pixar family created instant classics (and Cars should have won that Academy Award over Happy Feet :-). As Head of Story, you obviously did some incredible work. And to Ronnie, thanks for creating this memorial to Joe. The Pixar films have a powerful impact on adults as well. And to Joe's family, you have my heartfelt condolences. Thank you....
Althea Hughes Wills
Maryland

9:29 AM

 
Blogger Soulful Jenn said...

5.21.8

I saw Cars for the first time last Christmas and found out he died. Tonight I decided to find out HOW he died and all of these comments just prove how genuine and special he was.

I held back my tears.

This post has also given me inspiration to strive for a better life.

Sigh. I'm not sure what else to say.

God bless Joe, his family, friends, coworkers, associates, and any other being who was blessed to have met him.

Much respect and admiration for his work.

9:45 PM

 
Blogger Soulful Jenn said...

I would also like to add how I found this post.

I googled "Joe Ranft" and you were the last link listed on the 1st page.

10:38 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is definately a testament to a man that people are still affected almost two years later. As someone who had her share of loss (my husband in Dec 2006 & my older brother in Sept 2007) I have been deeply touched by Mr Ranft's loss. I know his family is still learning that life goes on. I know he is in Heavan with Walt Disney comparing notes. As an avid Disney & Pixar fan, I know Joe & Walt are creating the most wonderous animation. To the Ranft & his Pixar family my heart goes out to you. He will always be in our heart.

Petey 6/16/08

7:42 PM

 
Anonymous Mario Mora said...

Although I can say I never had the pleasure of meeting Joe Ranft, I feel like I got to know the ideas, passions and views of the world that he held in a way from the movies that he had been involved in.

I was actually listening/watching to Cars just a moment ago and there was something about the music that made me look up Joe today online, and I found this blog post in memory of him.

His work and legacy is indeed still a prominent influence to artists as I believe the work that an artist like Joe is truly timeless.

I cannot imagine the depth of the loss that came about with his passing. Wherever you are Mr. Ranft, I hope you know how much of an impact you've had on so many young artists.

11:41 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have just watched Cars for the 30th time. Sorry I did not see this when it first came out I am addicted to this movie. Still! When I came to end I decided to google Joe Ranft 1960-2005.
I am very very sad that an inspiring man who is a 'child at heart' would no longer be here to keep us young. I read a lot of the comments about Joe and am amazed at the person he was within his child-hood and with his working friends.
I am very sorry for the void his wife and family ' I'm sure will feel ' and still do. I pray that God will comfort all your hearts continually with things that words could never express. I am very sad to know his work and voice will not be in Disney's Pixar's movies ever again.
I do pray that you continue to feel comfort knowing that he moved many hearts and made a big difference here on earth.
Much Love,

Anonymous

4:52 PM

 
Blogger SaRuRo said...

Yesterday I was watching again "Brave Little Toaster" with a friend and he asked me about the story... I told him that it was written (or adapted) by a Pixarian who died in 2005... I didn't know that it was the fifth anniversary but I read it on twitter and felt very sad...
Joe will live forever for the pixar fans because we will see him again and again at the extras from Toy Story, Bug's Life, Monsters Inc and all that beautiful movies he helped to create.

My heartfelt prayers to his family and friends...

Regards from Barcelona (Spain) and excuse my english...

1:24 PM

 

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