On Friday June 26th 2020, it was announced that veteran animation director Kelly Asbury passed away at the age of 60. Asbury has worked on many animated films in the past and best known for directing films like Shrek 2 and Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron. The director passed away due to cancer.
Kelly Asbury was an incredibly well respected figure in the animation industry as he worked on plenty of different films over the years. His career started with Disney in the 1980s where he worked on Nightmare Before Christmas, The Little Mermaid and Toy Story. He went on to Dreamworks animation where he worked with story artists for various films including Chicken Run and The Prince of Egypt. His big break would come in 2002 where he co-directed the 2D animation horse film from Dreamworks Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron which was nominated for Best Animated Picture of 2002. Two years later, he made an even bigger contribution to the animation industry by being one of the directors of Shrek 2. Shrek 2 remains one of Dreamworks’ biggest hits making over $900 million worldwide and also received an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Picture. Since then Asbury has worked on Kung Fu Panda, Madagascar 2, Wreck-It Ralph and Frozen. Plus, Ashbury had directed other animated films including Gnomeo and Juliet, Smurfs: The Lost Village and his last film from 2019, Uglydolls.
With such a huge array of animated films under his belt, it was clear that Asbury had a ton of passion for his work. When discussing his animation career in an interview from 2019, he stated ” “Still, I can honestly state that one of the emotional hazards I’ve discovered about being an artist and/or director of any animated project is the inevitability of taking everything about it into my heart.” It was clear that Kelly Asbury loved his work and he will always be remembered for all of the excellent contributions he made to the animation industry.