Pixar’s Joe Ranft, head of their phenomenal story department (as well as the voice for Heimlich, Wheezy and Jacques) was killed in an auto accident on Wednesday. That’s terribly sad news for the folks at Pixar, both professionally and personally (by all accounts he was an incredible (so to speak) person).
And I feel some small sense of loss myself, just from seeing Ranft’s name so prominently in the credits of all of the Pixar movies. It’s always amazing to me just how much the passing of someone whom I don’t know at all can touch me just from the quality of his work. And for all of the technical skill and visual wizardry the crew at Pixar possess, it’s the stories and characters in each of their movies that make me love these movies as much as I do, and the high quality of those stories can be credited at least partially to Joe Ranft.