Rob Gibbs. Rob Gibbs.

Writer and director Robert James Gibbs, a two-decade veteran of Pixar Animation Studios, has passed away at age 55. The cause of death and other details were not immediately available. The news has circulated on social media through condolences posted by former and present co-workers. Some of their comments are shared below.

Gibbs directed or co-directed numerous projects at the studio over the years, including Tokyo Mater (which screened theatrically in front of Disney’s Bolt), Air Mater (the first production at the short-lived Pixar Canada), episodes of Mater’s Tall Tales, and the upcoming Disney+ series Monsters at Work, based on the Pete Docter-created franchise.

As a story artist, Gibbs contributed to many of the studio’s most beloved films including Toy Story 2, Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, Up, and Wall-E. (Note: His IMDB page inaccurately attributes animation credits to him that belong to another Pixar employee, Robb — with two Bs — Gibbs.)

A native of Escondido, California, Gibbs attended Palomar College before transferring to Calarts. After school, he worked for five years in story and visdev at Walt Disney Feature Animation, where his credits included Pocahontas and the “Pomp and Circumstance” segment of Fantasia 2000.

At the time of his death, Gibbs was attached as the co-director of the upcoming Germany/Belgium/Canada co-production Hump, which was to have been his feature directorial debut. He had been working on pre-production for the film, which tells the story of the camel Rami who goes on a journey across the Arabian Desert to reunite with his owner and best friend, Omar, a 10-year-old Bedouin boy. Hump’s producers posted a tribute to him on Facebook earlier this afternoon:

Other remembrances:

Here is an interview with Gibbs about his work on Air Mater:

This story will be updated with additional details as they become available…

Amid Amidi

Amid Amidi

Amid Amidi is Cartoon Brew's Publisher and Editor-at-large.

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