Ralph Wright (Ralph Waldo Wright)

Ralph Wright

Ralph Wright (May 17, 1908 – December 31, 1983) was a Disney animator and story/storyboard writer who provided the gloomy, sullen voice of Eeyore from the popular Winnie-the-Pooh franchise. Ralph Wright came to the studio in the 1940s, and became well known throughout the ensuing decades for his endearingly gloomy and sullen personality traits as well as his bass voice. He turned out to be a natural model for Eeyore when the studio began development on Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree. He, along with his fellow Disney contemporaries, was a pioneer in the use of “gags” within cartoons, often acted out in front of the “story board,” a bulletin board pinned with sequential sketches of the cartoon’s scenes. Early on, with “Goofy’s Glider” and other “How To” cartoons, Ralph pioneered the story concept featuring a hero’s failed attempt at achieving his goals. This technique is still in use today in most major animation studios. Warner Brothers later would incorporate this premise into “Roadrunner,” Sylvester and Tweety, and Bugs Bunny and Donald Duck cartoons. This highly reusable format proved to be wildly successful. In fact, full credit was attributed by Frank Tashlin interviewed by Michael Barrier in 2004: “That all came from a marvelous fellow who came from Tillamook, Oregon, a fellow by the name of Ralph Wright. He came down, and his pants were twelve inches too short for him, and he wore suspenders—he was out of the hills. But he had a crazy, crazy mind, almost as wild as Roy Williams, who is the best of all. Ralph did the first story of that type for Jack Kinney, called How to Ride a Horse. The Goof tried to stay on the horse—boom, off, another joke. That was the beginning of what still seems to be going on today. Then he and Kinney made more—a series of jokes, just one problem and working it out. It’s like a symphony, with a theme and then the development of that theme.”  He spent the last 30 years of his life in San Luis Obispo County in Los Osos, California. He died at his home in Los Osos from a heart attack.

Born

  • May, 17, 1908
  • USA
  • Grants Pass, Oregon

Died

  • December, 31, 1983
  • USA
  • Los Osos, California

Cause of Death

  • heart attack

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