Joe Ranft left CalArts after his sophomore year to join Disney in 1980. He worked with Darrell Van Citters on the Fun With Mr. Future, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and Sport Goofy in Soccermania teams. He worked for Amblin on the Toontown portion of Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
Ranft was a puppeteer on Tim Burton’s Hansel and Gretel Disney television show. He left Disney to work on The Brave Little Toaster in Taiwan with Jerry Rees. He was back at Disney as a storyboard artist on The Little Mermaid, and as story supervisor on The Rescuers Down Under. He worked briefly on The Simpsons televison series and was the storyboard supervisor on The Nightmare Before Christmas and James and the Giant Peach.
Ranft joined Pixar in 1991 as Head of Story and was story supervisor on Toy Story, A Bug’s Life, Toy Story 2, Monsters Inc., and Cars. He died tragically in a car accident in 2005. Cars is dedicated to his memory.
Ranft received the Winsor McCay Award posthumously in 2015. He is the subject of John Canemaker’s book, ‘Two Guys Named Joe: Master Storytellers Joe grant and Joe Ranft.’ Ranft is remembered is a very special memorial by John Musker.