Lee Edward Unkrich (born August 8, 1967) is an American retired film director, film editor, screenwriter, and animator. He was a longtime member of the creative team at Pixar, where he started in 1994 as a film editor. He later began directing, first as co-director of Toy Story 2.

Lee Unkrich
Lee Unkrich cropped 2009.jpg
Unkrich at the 2009 Venice Film Festival
Lee Edward Unkrich

(1967-08-08) August 8, 1967 (age 55)
Alma materUniversity of Southern California
OccupationFilm director, editor, screenwriter, animator
Years active1990–present
EmployerPixar Animation Studios (1994–2019)
Known forToy Story 3
Laura Century
(m. 1993)

After co-directing Toy Story 2, Monsters, Inc. and Finding Nemo, Unkrich made his solo directorial debut with Toy Story 3 in 2010, and most recently directed Coco in 2017, both of which won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature and the Academy Award for Best Original Song.

After working at Pixar for 25 years, Unkrich retired from the company in January 2019 to spend more time with his family and pursue other interests.[2][3]

Early life and careerEdit

Unkrich was raised in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. His father, Bob Unkrich, was a World War II veteran ("He stormed the beach at Normandy") and artist.[4] Unkrich was raised in the Jewish faith.[5] He spent his youth acting at The Cleveland Play House. Unkrich graduated from the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts in 1990.[6]

Unkrich was Vice-President of Editorial and Layout at Pixar.[citation needed] Before joining Pixar in 1994, Unkrich worked for several years in television as an editor and director. He is the 2011 recipient of the University of Southern California's Mary Pickford Distinguished Alumni Award recognizing alumni contributions to the cinematic arts.[citation needed]

On January 18, 2019, Unkrich announced he was leaving Pixar to spend time with his family and pursue interests that have "long been back-burnered."[7][8]

Personal lifeEdit

Unkrich is married to Laura Century and they have three children: Hannah, Alice, and Max.[1]



Year Title Director Writer Film Editor Executive
Other Voice Role Notes
1995 Toy Story No No Yes No No
1998 A Bug's Life No No Supervising No Yes Additional Voices
1999 Toy Story 2 Co-Director No Yes No Yes Red Rocker[9] Additional Story Material
2001 Monsters, Inc. Co-Director No Additional No Yes Additional Voices Brain Trust - uncredited
2003 Finding Nemo Co-Director No Supervising No Yes Additional Voices
2004 The Incredibles No No No No No
2006 Cars No No Additional No No
2007 Ratatouille No No No No No
2008 WALL-E No No No No Yes Pixar Senior Creative Team
2009 Up No No No No Yes
2010 Toy Story 3 Yes Story Yes No Yes Jack-In-The-Box / Scotch-Taped Monkey Additional Screenplay Material
Pixar Senior Creative Team
2011 Cars 2 No No No No Yes Pixar Senior Creative Team
2012 Brave No No No No Yes
2013 Monsters University No No No Yes Yes
2015 Inside Out No No No No Yes
The Good Dinosaur No No No Yes Yes
2016 Finding Dory No No No No Yes
2017 Cars 3 No No No No Yes
Coco Yes Original Story Yes No Yes Elote Skeleton
2018 Incredibles 2 No No No No Yes
2019 Toy Story 4 No No Additional Yes Yes
2020 Onward No No Additional No Yes
Soul No No No No Yes Special Thanks
2021 Luca No No No No Yes Pixar Senior Creative Team
2022 Turning Red No No No No Yes
Lightyear No No No No Yes


  • Prison Stories: Women on the Inside (1991) (TV) (production assistant)
  • Silk Stalkings (1991) (TV Series) (assistant editor, editor, director)
  • Renegade (1993) (TV series) (assistant editor)
  • Betrayed by Love (1994) (TV) (assistant editor)
  • Separated by Murder (1995) (TV) (editor)


Year Title Role
2007 The Pixar Story Himself
2022 Beyond Infinity: Buzz and the Journey to Lightyear [10]

Shorts and TV specialsEdit

Year Title Role
2000 For the Birds Thanks
2002 Mike's New Car Special Thanks
2008 Presto
2011 Toy Story Toons: Hawaiian Vacation
2013 The Blue Umbrella
Toy Story of Terror! Extra Special Thanks
2014 Toy Story That Time Forgot
Lava Special Thanks
2015 Sanjay's Super Team
2016 Piper
2018 La Noria
2019 Float
2020 Loop Story Trust
2021 Pixar Popcorn: A Day in the Life of the Dead Special Thanks
2022 Cars on the Road: Gettin' Hitched Senior Creative Team


  1. ^ a b c O'Connor, Michael "Clint" (June 12, 2010). "'Toy Story 3': Director Lee Unkrich, from Chagrin Falls, doesn't want to break Pixar's golden streak". Cleveland.com. City of Cleveland, State of Ohio. Archived from the original on September 10, 2018. Retrieved January 26, 2013.
  2. ^ "'Toy Story 3,' 'Coco' Director Lee Unkrich Leaving Pixar After 25 Years (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on 2019-01-19. Retrieved 2019-01-23.
  3. ^ Seddon, Dan (January 20, 2019). "Toy Story 3 and Coco director Lee Unkrich leaves Disney Pixar". Digital Spy. Archived from the original on January 23, 2019. Retrieved January 23, 2019.
  4. ^ Unkrich, Lee [@leeunkrich] (December 10, 2017). "My father, Bob Unkrich, died tonight at 93. He was an artist and a World War II Army hero. He stormed the beach at Normandy" (Tweet). Retrieved September 22, 2021 – via Twitter.
  5. ^ "'Coco' Ready for Thanksgiving Weekend Fireworks at the Box Office". 21 November 2017. Archived from the original on 1 December 2017. Retrieved 27 November 2017.
  6. ^ Notable Alumni Archived 2009-08-26 at the Wayback Machine, USC School of Cinematic Arts; accessed March 10, 2008.
  7. ^ Welk, Brian (January 18, 2019). "Lee Unkrich, Director of 'Coco' and 'Toy Story 3,' to Leave Pixar After 25 Years". The Wrap. Archived from the original on January 19, 2019. Retrieved January 18, 2019.
  8. ^ Evangelista, Christiano (January 18, 2019). "'Coco' and 'Toy Story 3' Director Lee Unkrich Leaving Pixar After 25 Years". slashfilm.com. Archived from the original on October 26, 2020. Retrieved August 23, 2020. After twenty-five incredible years, I’ve decided to leave Pixar. The time has come for new adventures. I’m not leaving to make films at another studio; instead, I look forward to spending much-needed time with my family and pursuing interests that have long been back-burnered.
  9. ^ "Beloved Pixar Characters Voiced by Pixar Filmmakers". Oh My Disney. August 26, 2016. Archived from the original on February 24, 2021. Retrieved March 11, 2021.
  10. ^ T.J. Wolsos (June 10, 2022). "Buzz Lightyear Documentary 'Beyond Infinity' Now on Disney+". Pixar Post. Retrieved July 2, 2022.

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