A Tribute to Joe Ranft A Tribute to Joe Ranft

A Tribute to Joe Ranft

Today, Joe Ranft would have been fifty years old. Disney director John Musker created this storyboard tribute to the late Pixar and Disney storyman. It was originally shown at Ranft’s memorial celebration on September 17, 2005.

Joe was one of the prime creative people behind PIXAR and a major contributor to Toy Story, a Bug’s Life, Cars. Joe was tragically killed in an automobile accident 5 years ago. This is a visualization of anecdotes I heard about my friend and colleague Joe.”

  • Jason Groh

    That was wonderful.
    It made me want to cry and I never met the man.
    Happy Birthday Joe.

  • He must of been an very amazing person to illicit this touching tribute. It makes me a wee bit jealous of those who knew him well!

    Well done Mr Musker !! (the Katzenberg drawings are hilarious.)

  • John did a absolutely magical job on that. . . I even didn’t know Joe, and I have a big lump in my throat. . .


  • BTW – a wonderful testament to that thing called caricature. Look at the timing and movement in that piece ! More fulfilling than some FULLY animated work I’ve seen. . .

  • Very beautiful and strong in emotion. An awesome tribute as well.

  • purin

    I second that. I never knew him and I’m sad he’s gone.

    I need to hear some of these stories now.

  • Rufus

    Still heartwrenching. Glad they put him in Coraline.

  • That was moving. Joe really brought something to both Disney and Pixar- something I don’t think anyone else could. Wow, you almost made me break down in front of my computer. I guess that’s just how powerful it was.

  • I worked with him at both Disney and Pixar. Joe Ranft is everything that makes this business special.

  • Jorgen Klubien

    It makes me cry, it’s so beautiful and sad!
    Shout out to Sue and the kids!

  • jim m.

    Wonderful. Thank you John.

  • I worked with Joe on the Brave Little Toaster and at Pixar. He let me stay in his apartment when my apartment flooded and he invited me to the Who Framed Roger Rabbit wrap party (that was a hot ticket!). He was the nicest, most generous person I’ve met in all of show business (and the funniest, too). I miss him every day.

  • bobkurtz

    a sweet film for a sweet guy. we still miss you joe.

  • Lucky Jim

    Wonderful, beautiful stuff. Thank you, Joe. Thank you, John.

  • Joseph

    Wow, that was very touching.

  • Katella Gate

    John M: thank you.

    I saw a film last week.
    Lavishly funded; too famous to mention.
    Your simple tribute,
    really nothing more than a filmstrip,
    had more to say in a few dozen drawings
    than all the arid display of money
    could muster in 90 minutes.

  • Now that’s what it’s all about!
    Thank you so much for sharing.

  • Arman Iranmanesh

    It would be awesome if they actually animated this! Brought tears to my eyes, and I usually never cry.

  • God bless Joe. What a great artist, his storyboards were fantastic. A Disney legend all the way…

  • Kate

    I cried the first time I saw this and I cried now. What a beautiful tribute to an extraordinary man.

  • Dan Jeup

    Beautiful, sweet and touching. Nicely done, Mr. Musker. It would be great if this film was posted every year on Joe’s birthday. He is surely missed. Thanks, John!

  • Paul N

    I met Joe twice, and on both occasions he was generous with his time, kind, engaging, and every bit the gentleman. Even with the minor contact I had with him (or perhaps because of it), I felt his loss deeply, and still tear up every time his tribute plays at the end of “Cars.”

    This is a beautiful piece, and a lovely tribute to an amazing man.

  • Brian Kidd

    That was simply fantastic. Further proof that simple drawings, done with passion behind them, are capable of displaying more emotion that all of the words in the dictionary. Mr. Musker, you are a true Artist. Mr. Ranft, to have elicited a tribute such as this, must have been a remarkable human being.

  • manu

    wow. so beautiful.

    by the way what is the tittle of the song and who sings it? so sweet.

    thanks in advance!

  • Jessie

    I remember bawling for three days when Joe died, he was such a hero to me and such an inspiration. My teacher showed us this video a couple of years ago – I’m glad it was finally posted online. It makes me cry everytime. Happy birthday, Joe.

  • Pedro Nakama

    That was really good.

  • Dan Jeup


    The song is title is YOU’RE GONNA MAKE ME LONESOME WHEN YOU’RE GONE. It is sung by Madeleine Peyroux.

  • Great tribute to a great person.

  • Sniffle! Where the “like” button?!

  • very moving. joe was one of the funniest, talented, humble and generous people i’ve ever worked with.

    still miss him.

  • mnmears

    John Musker, Thank you.

    I remember seeing this during the celebration of Joe’s life at Pixar in 2005 and hoping, praying that I’d get a chance to see it again.

    This short film turned me from a casual fan who admired Joe’s work to someone who’s grown to appreciate Joe on a far deeper level.

    Joe Ranft has become, and now will always be, a role model — not as an artist, but as a caring, compassionate, fun-loving, hard-working, devoted husband, father, colleague and friend.

    I don’t think I’ll ever be as good as the “great one,” “the gentle giant,” but it’s certainly a worthy pursuit.

    best always, Leo

  • That was a great! Nice music and an interesting way of getting the feel of Joe. Somehow, I’d bet it’s spot on.

  • Dave Knott

    Oh man, I can’t imagine seeing that soon after he died, much less now. Beautiful, heart-wrenching work. I gotta go dry my eyes…again.

  • Charles Keagle

    What a great tribute. Joe was always encouraging and giving of his time to me when I was a young artist at Pixar.

  • James Thurber’s last words rather sum up the life and the loss: “God bless; God damn…” Thanks for this touching tribute. Like a lot of others said, I wish I could have known him.

  • 5tephanie

    Beautifully meant.

  • ekuska

    Never met him, now I know him. Thanks John. This vid is an education on so many levels.. Thank you for sharing with us.

  • manu

    thanks Dan Jeup, you make my day!