“Joe Ranft, Pixar Animation Studios’ head of story for more than a decade and a cornerstone of the company’s creative team, died Tuesday when the car he was riding in plunged into the ocean after running off the road in Mendocino County, Calif. He was 45,” Sheigh Crabtree reports for The Hollywood Reporter. “Ranft was a co-writer on 1995’s “Toy Story,” for which he earned an Oscar nomination, and 1998’s “A Bug’s Life.” Before Pixar, he was a leading member of the story department at Walt Disney Feature Animation, where he was a writer on 1991’s “Beauty and the Beast” and 1994’s “The Lion King.”
Crabtree reports, “Joe was an important and beloved member of the Pixar family, and his loss is of great sorrow to all of us and to the animation industry as a whole,” the Emeryville, Calif.-based company said Wednesday. In addition to his work as a writer, Ranft performed the voices for numerous characters in Pixar features… Ranft’s voice-over work for Pixar included such characters as Heimlich in ‘A Bug’s Life’ and Wheezy the Penguin in ‘Toy Story 2.'”
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