Long-time Sesame Street animator and early Pixar artist Bud Luckey has passed away at the age of 83, his family has confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter. Luckey designed some of the world’s favorite Pixar characters in his long career such as Woody from Toy Story, and even voiced Rick Dicker in The Incredibles, Eeyore in Winnie the Pooh, and Chuckles the Clown in Toy Story 3.
In the early years of Pixar, he described his work in CGI as “animating with a backhoe,” but embraced the technology which would lead to Oscar-nominated Pixar short Boundin’, which Luckey wrote, directed, and performed in as the narrator.
Pixar and Disney’s animation chief John Lasseter has praised Luckey for years: “Bud Luckey is one of the true unsung heroes of animation. Bud helped design most of the films we’ve made from Toy Story onward. He was the fifth animator hired here at Pixar.”
And Luckey thought “a cowboy would be more interesting, working with a spaceman.” With that, an iconic character was born.
In his early career, Luckey was a mainstay as a designer and animator for Sesame Street in the ’60s and ’70s, creating many memorable Counting Cartoons which had a huge impact on a generation. Here’s 1971’s Sesame Street short The Alligator King, written and animated by Luckey:
(Via The Hollywood Reporter)