Oscar-nominated animator William “Bud” Luckey whose charming Sesame Street cartoons taught generations of children how to count has died. He was 83. Luckey is also popular for being behind the cowboy design for Woody of Toy Story.
Luckey died after an extended illness Saturday at a hospice facility in Newtown, Connecticut. His son Andy confirmed the sad news to media.
Luckey is also known to be the voice behind Rick Dicker, the head of the Superhero Relocation Program, in The Incredibles (2004); of the broken-hearted Chuckles the Clown in Toy Story 3 (2010) ; and of Eeyore in Winnie the Pooh (2011).
Luckey collaborated with lyricist Donald Hadley ( and with the music of Turk Murphy) to create many counting cartoons for Sesame Street, many of which are still fondly remembered by various generations until today. Their collaborations produced such counting cartoons as “The Alligator King “(with Luckey playing banjo) about Number 7, “The Ladybugs’ Picnic” ( Number 12), “Penny Candy Man”’, “That’s About the Size”, “The Old Woman Who Lived in a Nine” and a series of jingles by Donnie Budd, a hillbilly fiddler, performed by Luckey.
Over at Pixar, the talented Luckey also wrote, directed, voiced, sung and composed the five-minute film Boundin’, about a dancing sheep that turns shy after he is sheared. Luckey received an Academy Award nomination in 2004 as well as the Annie Award for best short film.
Animation chief John Lasseter also heaped praises on Luckey. He 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.
Lasseter also acknowledged Luckey for designing Woody. The animator drafted 200 designs until he completed the cowboy look of the iconic character voiced by Tom Hanks. He once said: “I thought a cowboy would be more interesting, working with a spaceman.”
Luckey was born on July 28, 1934, in Billings, Montana. He first used a broken brick drawing, instead of chalks, on sidewalks. He used to render the images of Hitler, Mussolini and Hideki Tojo for his friends to stomp and spit on as their own way of protest.
A young Luckey also carried his interest in drawing to school, often sketching cartoons of his teachers and drawing commercial signs. He also attended The Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles and USC. He had the pleasure of being mentored by Disney animation veteran Art Babbitt, the developer of the Goofy character.
Luckey also became the character designer on A Bug’s Life (1998), Monsters, Inc. (2001) and Cars (2006).