When it comes to the beauty of filmmaking, fans quickly become familiar with the actors behind their favorite roles. They may also become big fans of those who direct and write those films. When it comes to animated movies, some of the biggest behind-the-scenes players are, of course, the animators. They create every amazing detail that we see on the screen. Even films that are completely computer-generated would be nothing without the animators creating the characters. Sadly, the animation world has lost a powerhouse creator who worked with both The Walt Disney Company and Pixar for over three decades.
You may not know the name Ralph Eggleston right off the top of your head, but he is behind some of Disney and Pixar’s most iconic films. In his more than 30 years with the two companies, he worked on a ton of incredible projects, including Aladdin, Pocahontas, The Lion King, Toy Story, A Bug’s Life, Cars, Inside Out, and The Incredibles, just to name a few.
Unfortunately, we have learned that Eggleston has passed away at the age of 56.
According to Variety, which was one of the first to break the news of Eggleston’s death, the longtime art director died after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.
After news of Eggleston’s death broke, Pixar and those who worked with the talented filmmaker took to social media to share their heartbreak and honor Eggleston and his amazing contributions to the film world.
In memory of Ralph Eggleston—animator, director, art director, storyboard artist, writer, production designer, and our dear friend. Pixar and the world will be forever grateful.
In memory of Ralph Eggleston—animator, director, art director, storyboard artist, writer, production designer, and our dear friend. Pixar and the world will be forever grateful. ❤ pic.twitter.com/YzZACENcZw
— Pixar (@Pixar) August 29, 2022
Adios Maestro Ralph Eggleston. A true titan of our art form. He reached out to me after Book of Life and I will forever cherish our conversations. Before many knew he was sick he was trying to donate his spectacular art book collection to a Mexican animation school. That’s Ralph.
Adios Maestro Ralph Eggleston. A true titan of our art form. He reached out to me after Book of Life and I will forever cherish our conversations. Before many knew he was sick he was trying to donate his spectacular art book collection to a Mexican animation school. That's Ralph. pic.twitter.com/vyiwZ6dOPL
— Jorge R. Gutierrez (@mexopolis) August 29, 2022
The Wrap shared more information on Eggleston’s truly impressive career:
Eggleston started his career with former Disney animator Bill Kroyer, working on things like the title sequence for “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” and eventually Kroyer’s directorial debut “Fern Gully: The Last Rainforest.” Eggleston then left to join Disney, working on some of the most celebrated movies in the company’s filmography ( “Aladdin,” “The Lion King” and “Pocahontas”) before joining Pixar in 1992 as the studio was transforming from a company that did software and commercials (the short films were basically used to showcase whatever technology Pixar was hawking at the time) to a full-fledged movie studio.He would serve as an art director for “Toy Story.” The moving van company that Andy’s family uses in the final chase is even named after his nickname: Eggman Movers. Eggleston would become a mainstay at Pixar, although he would sometimes flit between studios (he has a credit on DreamWorks Animation’s “The Road to El Dorado” and helped out on Disney’s “The Princess and the Frog”). In 2000, “For the Birds,” a short film that Eggleston wrote and directed, was released and would win the Oscar the following year for Animated Short.
Pixar Animation Studios did not publicly release a statement, but did send an internal email to all staff informing them of Eggleston’s passing.