Pixar Animator Bud Luckey, Genius Behind Toy Story's Woody, Is Dead At 83

Chuckles the Clown Toy Story 3

One of the greats of animation has passed away. The name Bud Luckey wasn't a household name, but he's responsible for the design, and the voice, of some of the most popular animated characters ever created. Bud Luckey is the man credited with turning Toy Story's Woody into a cowboy and he voiced the character of Chuckles the Clown in Toy Story 3. The announcement of Luckey's passing was made by his son Andy on Facebook, where he celebrated his father's accomplishments as well as his simple and friendly demeanor. According to Andy Luckey...

He'll be deeply missed by his friends, family and colleagues to whom he was just "Bud." His kind and easy going demeanor led his PIXAR colleagues to dub him "Bud Low-Key."

Bud Luckey's animation credits include numerous animated shorts for Sesame Street designed to help small children learn to count. Luckey also provided numerous voices for those shorts throughout the 70s, 80s, and 90s. In the early 1990s, Luckey was hired by Pixar where he was a character designer on the studio's early films like Toy Story, A Bug's Life, and Monsters Inc. Luckey is reportedly the one who evolved the original design of Woody, from his original look as a ventriloquist dummy to the cowboy that we know and love today.

Bud Luckey received an Academy Award nomination for Best Animated Short Film in 2004 for the Pixar short Boundin' about a dancing sheep, where Luckey also provided the voice of the narrator. Luckey provided a number of additional voices to both Disney and Pixar over the years. He was the voice of Eeyore in Disney's 2011 Winnie the Pooh movie and he was the original voice of Rick Dicker in The Incredibles. That performance is being taken over by Jonathan Banks in Incredibles 2, it's unclear if Luckey's illness was the reason the recasting needed to be done, though Luckey is currently credited as having done some voice work for Chuckles the Clown in next year's Toy Story 4.

Bud Luckey's son Andy says that while Bud Luckey loved his work, he got the most satisfaction from seeing others enjoy it, and considering the films and television that he worked on over the years, it's safe to say that he was able to get a lot of satisfaction from his work. The Toy Story movies alone would have been enough to cement Luckey's legacy, but that was only a small portion of what he did. It's impossible to count the number of children he influenced with his work through multiple decades of Sesame Street.

While Bud Luckey is no longer with us, his creations will live on. I'll certainly be thinking of him when I see Rick Dicker take the screen later this year in Incredibles 2, as well as every time I see Sherriff Woody from now on.

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian, Dirk began writing for CinemaBlend as a freelancer in 2015 before joining the site full-time in 2018. He has previously held positions as a Staff Writer and Games Editor, but has more recently transformed his true passion into his job as the head of the site's Theme Park section. He has previously done freelance work for various gaming and technology sites. Prior to starting his second career as a writer he worked for 12 years in sales for various companies within the consumer electronics industry. He has a degree in political science from the University of California, Davis.  Is an armchair Imagineer, Epcot Stan, Future Club 33 Member.