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Bud Luckey (1934–2018), animator designed Woody for “Toy Story”

by Kirk Fox

Voice actor for “The Incredibles” and “Winnie the Pooh.”

Bud Luckey, the Oscar-nominated animator who created many characters for Disney Pixar Studios, has died at the age of 83.

His son, Andy, told the Hollywood Reporter that Luckey died Saturday after an extended illness at a hospice facility in Newtown, Connecticut. Andy also announced his dad’s passing on Facebook.


After serving in the Air Force during the Korean War, Luckey enrolled in Art School. He became an advertising art director and won a Clio Award in 1966 for a Betty Crocker commercial. 

In the 1970s, Luckey wrote and created many features for “Sesame Street,” including some of the counting cartoons. 

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He started at Pixar in the early 1990s, animating for “Toy Story,” and is credited by Pixar head John Lasseter for creating the beloved Woody. He went through 200 designs before coming up with the cowboy look for the character. 

In the “Designing Toy Story” featurette, Luckey said, “I thought a cowboy would be more interesting, working with a spaceman.” 

In a video interview, Lasseter said, “Bud Luckey is one of the true unsung heroes of animation. Bud helped design most of the films we’ve made from Toy Story [in 1995] onward. He was the fifth animator hired here at Pixar.” 

Luckey also served as a character designer on “A Bug’s Life,” “Monsters Inc.,” and “Cars.” 

He wrote, directed, composed and performed as the solo singer/narrator on the Pixar 2004 animated short film “Boundin” which won the Annie Award as well as an Academy Award nomination in the Best Animated Short Film category.

Additionally, he was a voice actor who voiced Rick Dicker in “The Incredibles,” Chuckles the Clown in “Toy Story 3,” and Eeyore in 2011’s “Winnie the Pooh.” 

In lieu of flowers, his family encourages donations to The California Institute of The Arts Bud Luckey Scholarship Fund. 

We invite you to share condolences for Bud Luckey in his Guest Book.

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