Shrek 2 Director Kelly Asbury Dies Aged 60
Animated film director and voice actor Kelly Asbury has died at the age of 60, his representative has confirmed.
Asbury, who was best known for directing Shrek 2 and Smurfs: The Lost Village, died yesterday, June 26, after battling cancer for several years.
The director died at his home in Encino, California, according to his representative, Nancy Newhouse Porter of Newhouse Porter Hubbard.
Newhouse Porter confirmed the news to Deadline, telling the publication: ‘He was one of the most admired and beloved people in the industry. It’s heartbreaking for everyone.’
Although Asbury is perhaps best known for directing the Oscar-nominated Shrek 2 – his work on which helped make the sequel a massive blockbuster, raking in $919.8 million on a $150 million budget – he also worked on some of Disney’s biggest animated hits such as Beauty and the Beast.
In his nearly four decades in the business, Asbury also contributed to a wide range of noteworthy animated features, including: The Little Mermaid; The Nightmare Before Christmas; James and the Giant Peach; The Prince of Egypt; Chicken Run; Shrek; Wreck-It Ralph; Frozen; and Sherlock Gnomes.
Most recently, Asbury helmed last year’s STX animated film Uglydolls, a musical starring Kelly Clarkson, Nick Jonas, Janelle Monáe, Blake Shelton and Pitbull.
Shortly after news of his passing broke, tributes began pouring in for the much-loved director from fans and those in the industry, with many mourning a life lost too soon.
DreamWorks Animation described him as a ‘dear friend and colleague’, adding: ‘His legacy and talent lives on through his work.’ One fan said ‘his work will live on forever’, while another said he ‘left his stamp on a variety of films’.
Screenwriter Brian Lynch described him as a ‘legend in animation’ who ‘directed one of the funniest animated movies ever made, Shrek 2‘, adding: ‘His work will be discovered and adored by audiences for generations to come.’
Meanwhile, the co-creator of Uglydolls, David Horvath, tweeted:
We were so very sad to hear that our Uglydolls movie director Kelly Asbury has passed away… he was a very kind talented artist and the world is much less without him here. We are very proud of the film he made for us, and will think of him always.
Sony Pictures Animation described the director as ‘extremely generous, unusually honest, wicked, sincere, hilarious, tough as nails, sweet as pie, truly talented, humble and brave’, adding: ‘A mentor and friend to so many. Deeply loved, and sorely missed. We love you Kelly.’
Asbury is survived by his wife, Jacquie Boggs, stepsons Andrew and Connor Boggs, sister Gwen Speed, and niece Leslie McKeller.
Rest in peace, Kelly. Our thoughts are with his loved ones at this difficult time.
If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677.