Pixar’s revolution in the world of computer animation cannot be understated, as the runaway success of films like Toy Story changed the way we’d see animated entertainment forever. It’s because of the efforts of people like Ralph Eggleston that the studio landed such an iconic legacy, which continues in 2022 movie releases like Disney/Pixar’s Lightyear. Unfortunately, the world remembers this fact in a bittersweet context today, as Eggleston has been reported as having passed away at the age of 56.
The news came from a “company-wide message” that The Pixar Post caught wind of, with the man who worked on such films as Toy Story and Monsters Inc. reported as passing this past Sunday. This unfortunate news comes after years of Eggleston’s fight against Pancreatic Cancer, the confirmation of which triggered responses from many of Ralph Eggleston’s colleagues.
Ralph Eggleston’s final reported film credit comes from his work on Disney/Pixar’s Academy Award winning film Soul, which saw him working as a development artist for the 2020 movie. Confirming his passing in their official tweet, Pixar's Twitter account shared the following tribute:
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/YzZACENcZwAugust 29, 2022
One of Ralph Eggleston’s career highlights was his Academy Award win in 2002, which saw his writing/directing on the short For The Birds nab him a Best Animated Short Film Oscar. That project served as a core memory for Lightyear director Angus MacLane, who shared some of Eggleston’s storyboards in a tweet honoring his memory:
RIP Raph Eggleston. Truly one of a kind. His massive talent was matched only by his kindness. 💔 pic.twitter.com/GkD5Tt5X9BAugust 29, 2022
Many of the wild behind the scenes stories of Pixar’s history have a connection to Ralph Eggleston in one way or another. However, his reach wasn’t merely felt within the walls of the company he helped shape. Jorge R. Gutierrez, creator of projects such as the 3D stunner The Book of Life and Maya and the Three, also took to Twitter and shared his own fond remembrance. Accompanied by a photo of Eggleston showing off his work on Inside Out, Gutierrez’s message read as follows:
Not only a force for good with his own work, Ralph Eggleston’s mentoring and companionship also made a huge impact among his peers. Pixar’s Chris Burrows, known for his own work in shading and technical direction throughout the studio’s history, contributed his feelings about working with Eggleston through this beautiful social media post:
RIP Eggman. The animation world is a lot darker today. I’m going to miss the way you would enthusiastically recommend old horror films - complete with a very anecdote about the art department - most of all. You liking me is one of my proudest achievements.August 29, 2022
Our final tribute comes from a tweet by Rebecca Rees, whose work on various Disney classics such as Beauty and the Beast and The Brave Little Toaster put her in the orbit of Ralph Eggleston's own time working at the House of Mouse. Those experiences were summed up in Rees' short but sweet commemoration:
Perhaps another crucial field of Pixar’s history that Ralph Eggleston is a presence in is the studio’s habit of hiding easter eggs in films like Onward. It was a behavior that started early and has stuck around up to the modern day. One of the first references hidden in a Disney/Pixar movie was the appearance of “Eggman Movers,” the company that helped move Andy and his family at the end of the first Toy Story movie.
With reminders such as this of the humor and cheek that Pixar’s entire roster of creatives would become known for, Eggleston’s legacy will live on to infinity and beyond, as it’s freshly reintroduced to future generations of animation fans. We here at CinemaBlend send our deepest condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of Ralph Eggleston. May they be comforted by his memory, as they navigate this difficult time of grieving.
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Mike Reyes is the Senior Movie Contributor at CinemaBlend, though that title’s more of a guideline really. Passionate about entertainment since grade school, the movies have always held a special place in his life, which explains his current occupation. Mike graduated from Drew University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science, but swore off of running for public office a long time ago. Mike's expertise ranges from James Bond to everything Alita, making for a brilliantly eclectic resume. He fights for the user.