On August 16, 2005, during the making of Cars, he was killed in a car accident. His driver lost control of driving and crashed through the guard rail while heading northbound on Highway 1. The car dropped 130 feet into the mouth of the Navarro River in Mendocino County, California. Both Joe and his driver were killed, but another passenger was able to survive by escaping through the sun roof. The movie Cars was dedicated to him, as well as Cars Race-O-Rama and Cars: The Video Game, along with some other Cars video games.
- Toy Story (1995): writer (story), story supervisor, voice of Lenny
- A Bug's Life (1998): writer (story), story supervisor, voice of Hemlich
- Toy Story 2 (1999): story supervisor, voice of Wheezy
- Monsters, Inc. (2001): story artist and additional voices
- Finding Nemo (2003): voice of Jacques
- The Incredibles (2004): additional voices
- Cars (2006): co-director, writer, (story, screenplay), voices of Red and Jerry Recycled Batteries. Died during the making of the film (2005).