Ralph Eggleston, the writer-director of Oscar- and Annie-winning 2000 Pixar short For the Birds, died Sunday, August 28 of pancreatic cancer. He was 56 years old.
The longtime Pixar artist and animator was recognized for his production design on the first Toy Story movie with an Annie Award and helped bring beloved studio classics such as A Bug’s Life, Finding Nemo, WALL-E , The Incredibles and Incredibles 2 to the screen as production designer/art director. He also contributed in various capacities to Ratatouille, Up and Soul, and helped craft the original story for Monsters, Inc.
Born October 18, 1965 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Eggleston attended the prestigious animation school at the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), and got his Hollywood start as a title designer in the latter 1980s, with credits including National Lamoon’s Christmas Vacation.
Before joining Pixar in 1992 during the development of Toy Story, Eggleston worked at Warner Bros. and Amblin/Universal, and lent his talents as an animator, character designer and storyboarder to TV titles like The Pound Puppies, Garfield: His 9 Lives and The Simpsons. Soon, he was helping to drive the creative visions of major animated features as art director for Bill Kroyer’s FernGully; Disney’s Aladdin, The Lion King and Pocahontas; as well as DreamWorks’ The Road to El Dorado.
In addition to the multiple honors awarded to For the Birds, over the course of Eggleston’s career he was also nominated three times for the Art Directors Guild award for production design (The Incredibles, WALL-E and Incredibles 2) and won three Annie Awards for production design in an animated feature (Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Inside Out), as well as a nomination for WALL-E. ASIFA-Hollywood bestowed the 2018 Winsor McCay Award for lifetime achievement on the accomplished animator.