The idea of death and loss has had a rich relationship with Pixar movies; at times it almost feels like the animation studio has an agenda to help us grow up emotionally by bombarding us with devastating stories framed as fanciful children's tales.
Through the trials and tribulations of Woody, Carl, Wall-E, Lightning McQueen and Riley, we've grown through pain and joy and the frightening discomfort of our own mortality. But thanks to the wonderful characterisation and the studio's habit of picking perfect casts to compliment their stories, every hard lesson has been learned with a side of charm.
It was their voices that brought Pixar's delightful characters to life: the warmth of Tom Hanks, the venom of Kevin Spacey, the delicious humour of Wallace Shawn and the familiarity of John Ratzenberger...
Unfortunately, given it has now been over 20 years since the franchise kicked off with Toy Story in 1995, some of the stars behind favourite characters have passed on. In their honour, it's time to remember those who lent their voices to Pixar and are now chilling out in the great cinema in the sky...
10. Paul Newman - Cars
Who He Was:
Oscar-winner, Emmy-winner and food company owner, Paul Newman was a Hollywood legend when the term really meant something. He built a career on charismatic performances, philanthropy and political activism, famously winning acclaim for The Colour Of Money, The Sting and Cool Hand Luke.
On the verge of his retirement, Newman channelled his love of cars (he was a race driver into his 80s) to play Doc Hudson, race veteran turned judge of Radiator Springs who teaches Lightning McQueen humility and belonging. He's the archetypical cantankerous old sage, terrified of his own ghosts but keen to set McQueen straight. Doc Hudson would be Newman's last feature performance before his death.
September 26th, 2008
9. Phyllis Diller - A Bug's Life
Who She Was:
A legend of comedy and the first female stand-up to become a mainstream success, Phyllis Diller was an eccentric comic and a TV veteran who championed gay rights and plastic surgery. She appeared in more than forty films, innumerable TV shows (a significant number as cameos) and had a successful secondary career as a vocal artist, including appearing on Robot Chicken and Family Guy. She was still working at the time of her death, appearing as series regular Gladys Pope in The Bold & The Beautiful
Diller lent her iconic voice to the role of the Queen in A Bug's Life, who becomes central to villain Cutter's plot to exercise his control over the ants. She was sardonic, humorous and warm - everything Diller brought to her other roles.
August 20th, 2012
8. James Coburn - Monsters Inc
Who He Was:
Another legend of the screen, Coburn built a career on tough guy roles in Westerns and action films throughout the 60s and 70s, before gaining mega stardom with James Bond parody Our Man Flint. In an echo of Bill Murray's character in Lost In Translation, Coburn was hugely popular in Japan for his masculinity and advertised cigarette brands out there. Though he was crippled by arthritis for 20 years, he continued working until his death, cameoing in the likes of The Nutty Professor and Sister Act 2, and winning a late-career Best Supporting Oscar for Affliction in 1997.
Henry J Waternoose III
The low-key villain of the piece, Waternoose appears charming and benevolent at first, but it is revealed that his desperation to power the Monsters' city has led him to nefarious deeds. Coburn's voice was perfectly suited to both sides of the character, warm at once and menacing when required.
November 18th, 2002
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