The Hollywood Reporter by explaining that he was not leaving to work elsewhere. “Not leaving movies at another studio,” he told the publication. "Instead, I look forward to spending much-needed time with my family and pursuing interests that have been back-burned." Toy Story, also co-directed the films Toy Story 2, Monsters, Inc., and Finding Nemo, before moving on to his own projects. Unkrich was also one of the five original members of the studio's legendary "braintrust"; The other initial participants were John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, Pete Docter, and Joe Ranft.
Doctor, who replaced Lasseter last year as Pixar's chief creative officer, said in a statement:
"Lee arrived at Pixar when we were crafting Toy Story, and he's had a profound effect on all Pixar movies since. He literally taught us rookie filmmakers about staging, composition, and cutting. His art and expert craftsmanship as an editor and co-director became a major reason for the high quality of our filmmaking, and as Lee went to direct, his ability to find the deep humor and emotion enabled him to create some of the strongest films we've made. He will be sorely missed ̵1; but we are enormously grateful for his wireless dedication to quality, and his ability to touch the hearts of audiences around the world. ”
Brad Bird also weighed in on Twitter, writing,“ Thanks for all of it, Lee. ”
Thanks for all of it, Lee. @leeunkrich https://t.co/SX5E5YEdAm
— Brad Bird (@ BradBirdA113) January 18, 2019
Unkrich's departure follows the retirement of Pixar co-founder and president Ed Catmull, who left the studio at the end of last year, and the resignation of John Lasseter, following extensive accusations of sexual misconduct and other inappropriate behavior toward studio employees. Darla K. Anderson, Unkrich's producer on Coco and Toy Story 3 and a 25-year veteran of the studio herself, left Pixar last March, just days after winning the Oscar for Coco.