Some really beautiful sentiments can be found on-line regarding Joe Ranft (1960-2005). Here’s a handful that stood out to me. The complete entries can be read by clicking on the writer’s names.
“My personal memories are of things like Joe and John [Lasseter] doing James Brown riffs as “Toy Story” charactersâ€¦Joe performing an entire lunch as Billy Bob Thornton’s gravel-voiced character from “Sling Blade” (“Some people call it a crescent rollâ€¦I call it a sling rollâ€¦”) Entertaining people came as naturally to Joe as swimming does to a dolphin. He didn’t do it to become a star at Sea World, he did it because it’s who he was. He would casually pull a deck of cards out of his pocket and show you some close-up magic, do voices, draw caricatures, tell a story, and it all wove in and out of the most easygoing and kindhearted and unforced conversations. Kindhearted. That was Joe. Maybe the sweetest soul I’ve ever known. I don’t think I ever heard Joe Ranft say an unkind word about anyone. He felt and experienced life with a kind of boundless gratitude for who he was, and the people with whom he surrounded himself. It was like he woke up every day genuinely surprised at his good fortune.” – Mike Bonifer (it’s well worth reading the whole entry on this one)
“I wanted to BE Joe Ranft … envying a man’s life who I never met. Plus, I could tell in his writings that he was a warm man, full of good humor. A man I would hope to someday shake hands with and … dare I dream … get to work with. …It saddens me greatly that I will never have the opportunity to thank the man who has meant so much to me in terms of inspiration and direction.” – Barry Smith