Born in Pasadena in 1960, Joe Ranft was raised in Whittier, California, where as a child he developed a fondness for performing magic tricks. He was a classmate of Pixar's John Lasseter at the California Institute of the Arts in the 1970s.
After two years at CalArts, Ranft joined Disney in 1980. In 1992, he reunited with Lasseter at Pixar, where his early work included pitching and storyboarding the first sequence for "Toy Story," the Green Army Men sketch.
Mr. Ranft, Pixar Animation Studios' head of story for more than a decade and a cornerstone of the company's creative team, died August 16, 2005 when the car he was riding in plunged into the ocean after running off the road in Mendocino County, California. He was 45.
Last updated: Sep 02, 2005