Adam Burke, Veteran Pixar Animator, Dies
Animator Adam Burke died last night from lung cancer. The news was reported on Twitter by director Brad Bird.
Burke animated on all four of Bird’s animated features. He was “a great man & talent, a[l]ways upbeat, giving,” Bird wrote in his tweet:
Adam Burke did stellar work on every animated feature I’ve made (including the scene below). A great man & talent, aways upbeat, giving. He shepherded Pixar’s Children’s Hospital visits that happen with each film’s release. He passed last night from cancer. We’ll miss you, Adam. pic.twitter.com/LRUV7cgzGm
— Brad Bird (@BradBirdA113) October 8, 2018
Burke grew up in Massachusetts and graduated from Plymouth South High School (class of 1989). He then attended CalArts, and left school when he found a job working for Don Bluth.
Burke was a 26-year veteran of the animation industry, and worked on hand-drawn animation animated features for Don Bluth (Thumbelina, A Troll in Central Park), Richard Rich (The Swan Princess), Warner Bros. (Space Jam, The Iron Giant), and Dreamworks (The Road to El Dorado, Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron).
In 2003, he moved north to Emeryville to to work at Pixar on The Incredibles, and had worked there ever since. His animation credits at the studio included Cars, Ratatouille, Wall-E, Up, Toy Story 3, Cars 2, Monsters University, and most recently, Incredibles 2.
“He was diagnosed with lung cancer 10 months ago and still found a way to brighten other peoples lives through his tough and short battle,” Burke’s brother Aaron told Cartoon Brew.
Burke is survived by his parents, brother Aaron and sister Heather, a wife and two sons.
Other artists who knew Burke are expressing their condolences on Twitter:
I lost a good friend. Adam Burke was the most humble, talented animator. Never once did he complain because he knew how precious life was. I will miss him. Condolences to his family. pic.twitter.com/7sPUak7otS
— andrew gordon (@splinedoctor) October 9, 2018
I remember Adam from the Dreamworks times, always with a big smile, cheering everyone up! You will be missed Adam! RIP https://t.co/H3uIVadiF2
— cinzia angelini (@cinziaangelini) October 9, 2018
Adam Burke was my mentor at my internship at Pixar- He was one of the kindest and giving people I met there* https://t.co/DDUW8ufgzq
— shiyoonk (@shiyoonk) October 9, 2018
It’s a dark day at Pixar. We love you, Adam. https://t.co/zhnAiqCwAJ
— cat hicks (@cathicks) October 8, 2018
A sweetheart of a man at Pixar, remembered by Brad Bird.
God Speed, Adam Burke… https://t.co/gP3fl2azrN
— Jay Ward (@MisterJayWard) October 9, 2018
One of the most beautiful human beings I came across in my limited time with Adam during my time at Pixar. Rest In Peace. https://t.co/gyS74rBjLS
— Dice Tsutsumi (@tonkohouse) October 9, 2018
Adam Burke was such an amazing, awesome man! He helped me a lot. Many Pixar friends and myself became professional animators because of Adam. I will miss you big hat hero! https://t.co/dgI2XtJI17
— First Bloom (@wintersweetanim) October 9, 2018
Glad to know you #Pixar #adamburke Rest In Peace pic.twitter.com/qC78g0tvNd
— Grant Alexander (@GrantGalaxy) October 9, 2018
Editor’s note: This story has been updated with additional details from Burke’s family.