Lee Unkrich

Lee Edward Unkrich (born August 8, 1967) is an American 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 54)
Alma materUniversity of Southern California
OccupationFilm director, editor, screenwriter, animator
Years active1990–2019
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 in January 2019 to spend more time with his family.[2][3]

Early life and careerEdit

Unkrich was raised in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. His father Bob Unkrich, a World War II Veteran ("He stormed the beach at Normandy") and artist, who later converted to his mother's religion, is originally from a family of German Catholic descent, whereas his mother is from a Jewish background.[4] He spent his youth acting at The Cleveland Play House. Unkrich graduated from the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts in 1990.[5]

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 and the film industry to spend time with his family.[6][7]

Personal lifeEdit

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


Feature FilmsEdit

Year Title Director Executive
Story by
Film Editor Other Voice Role Notes
1995 Toy Story No No No Yes No
1998 A Bug's Life No No No Supervising Yes Additional Voices
1999 Toy Story 2 Co-Director No No Yes Yes Red Rocker[8] Additional Story Material
2001 Monsters, Inc. Co-Director No No Additional Yes Additional Voices Brain Trust - uncredited
2003 Finding Nemo Co-Director No No Supervising Yes Additional Voices
2004 The Incredibles No No No No No
2006 Cars No No No Additional No
2007 Ratatouille No No No No No
2008 WALL-E No No No No Yes Senior Creative Team
2009 Up No No No No Yes
2010 Toy Story 3 Yes No Yes Yes Yes Jack-In-The-Box
Scotch-Taped Monkey
Additional Screenplay Material
Senior Creative Team
2011 Cars 2 No No No No Yes Senior Creative Team
2012 Brave No No No No Yes
2013 Monsters University No Yes No No Yes
2015 Inside Out No No No No Yes
The Good Dinosaur No Yes No No Yes
2016 Finding Dory No No No No Yes
2017 Cars 3 No No No No Yes
Coco Yes No Yes Yes Yes Elote Skeleton
2018 Incredibles 2 No No No No Yes
2019 Toy Story 4 No Yes No Additional Yes
2020 Onward No No No Additional 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)

Short Films and Television 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 Lava Special Thanks
Toy Story That Time Forgot Extra Special Thanks
2015 Sanjay's Super Team Special Thanks
2016 Piper
2018 La Noria
2019 Float
2020 Loop Story Trust
Soul Special Thanks
2021 Pixar Popcorn: A Day in the Life of the Dead
Luca 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. ^ "'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.
  5. ^ Notable Alumni Archived 2009-08-26 at the Wayback Machine, USC School of Cinematic Arts; accessed March 10, 2008.
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ "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.

External linksEdit