Kelly Adam Asbury
January 15, 1960
Beaumont, Texas, U.S.
|Died||June 26, 2020 (aged 60)|
Encino, California, U.S.
|Resting place||Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Hollywood Hills|
|Alma mater||Lamar University California Institute of the Arts|
|Occupation(s)||Film director, writer, voice actor, illustrator|
|Employer(s)||Walt Disney Animation Studios (1983–1995, 2009–2013)|
DreamWorks Animation (1995–2009)
|Notable work||Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron|
Gnomeo & Juliet
Smurfs: The Lost Village
(m. 1990; div. 2006)
Kelly Adam Asbury (January 15, 1960 – June 26, 2020) was an American film director, writer, voice actor, and illustrator. He was best known for directing animated films, including Shrek 2, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, Gnomeo & Juliet, Smurfs: The Lost Village, and UglyDolls.
Asbury was born on January 15, 1960 Beaumont, Texas, the son of Josephine Margaret (Lebeouf) and Donald Leslie Asbury. His father Donald died from cancer when Asbury was 12. He attended Lamar University for two years before transferring to the renowned California Institute of the Arts in 1980, where he studied animation and filmmaking.
Asbury got his start at Walt Disney Feature Animation from 1983 to 1995, and contributed storyboards for several animated films including The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast, as well as Pixar's first feature film, Toy Story. In 1993, he was the assistant art director on Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas.
In 1995, he began working for DreamWorks Animation, and directed two Academy Award-nominated feature films, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron (2002) and Shrek 2 (2004). In addition to directing, he provided some of the extra voices in Shrek 2 and Shrek the Third.
He directed and co-wrote the animated film Gnomeo & Juliet (2011), for which he also provided the voices of the tiny Red Goon Gnomes. He was nominated for two Annie Awards for directing and co-writing that film.
In 2003, he wrote a non-fiction book, Dummy Days, a biography of five 20th-century ventriloquists. He wrote and illustrated twelve children's books, including Rusty's Red Vacation, Bonnie's Blue House, and Yolanda's Yellow School.
In mid-2011 to mid-2012, Asbury briefly returned to Disney to contribute storyboards to Wreck-It Ralph and Frozen. His final directing credits were Smurfs: The Lost Village for Sony Pictures Animation and UglyDolls for STX Entertainment.
- Shrek – In 1997, Asbury was tapped to make his directorial debut with a film adaptation of the children's book Shrek! alongside Andrew Adamson. He dropped out a year later in favor of Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron and was replaced by Vicky Jenson, but remained as a story artist and received special thanks on the finished film. He later co-directed its sequel, Shrek 2.
- Pooch Café – In 2011, Asbury was brought in by Sony Pictures Animation to write a new draft for a film adaptation of the Pooch Café comic strip.
- Will Gallows and the Snake-Bellied Troll – In 2011, following the success of Gnomeo and Juliet, Asbury was hired by Rocket Pictures to write and direct a live-action/animated film based on the children's book Will Gallows and the Snake-Bellied Troll. The film would've been Asbury's first foray into live-action filmmaking.
- Kazorn & The Unicorn – In 2012, Deadline reported that Asbury was in the talks with Sony Pictures Animation to make an animated fantasy film titled Kazorn & The Unicorn. It would have followed the adventures of a young man and a unicorn as he seeks to locate a powerful weapon and prove his worth to his true love. Lloyd Taylor was writing the screenplay. Sam Raimi, Josh Donen, and Russell Hollander were producing the film. Troy Quane (Spies in Disguise, Nimona) was later hired to co-direct the film with Asbury, but the film has since been put on hold.
- Horacio 3D – In 2013, Asbury was tapped to write a Brazilian animated film based on the Monica's Gang character Horacio, originally scheduled for a 2017 release. According to animator Fábio Mendes, Asbury was intended to direct the film. But as of 2020, nothing has come from the project.
Asbury died of abdominal cancer on June 26, 2020, in his home, Encino, Los Angeles, at age 60. He was buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Hollywood Hills. He was featured in the In Memoriam section of the 93rd Academy Awards, and Spirit Untamed was dedicated to his memory.
|1984||The Littles||Storyboards (8 episodes)|
|1985||The Black Cauldron||Inbetween artist|
|1987||Sport Goofy in Soccermania||Short|
|1989||The Little Mermaid||Visual development artist|
|1990||The Rescuers Down Under||Character designer, storyboard artist, visual development|
|Roller Coaster Rabbit||Short|
|1991||Beauty and the Beast||Story, visual development artist|
|1993||The Nightmare Before Christmas||Assistant art director|
|1995||Toy Story||Story artist|
|1996||Quack Pack||Storyboard: Ducky Dearest|
|James and the Giant Peach||Storyboard supervisor with Joe Ranft|
|Disney's Animated Storybook: Toy Story||Video game|
Additional story and writing
|1998||Histeria!||Storyboard artist: The American Revolution|
|The Prince of Egypt||Artistic Supervisor: story with Lorna Cook and Ronnie del Carmen|
|2000||Chicken Run||Additional story artist|
|2001||Shrek||Story artist, special thanks|
|2002||Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron||Director with Lorna Cook [directorial debut]|
|2004||Shrek 2||Director with Andrew Adamson and Conrad Vernon, voices: Page, Elf, and Nobleman, ADR group|
|2005||100 Greatest Cartoons||Documentary|
|2007||Shrek the Third||Voices: Master of Ceremonies and Fiddlesworth, special thanks|
|2008||Kung Fu Panda||Additional story artist|
|Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa|
|2009||I'm No Dummy||Documentary|
|The BackStage Pass||TV special|
|2011||Gnomeo and Juliet||Director, screenwriter, story, voices: Red Goon Gnomes|
|Made in Hollywood||Himself (1 episode)|
|Jeff Dunham: Birth of a Dummy||TV special|
|2012||Made in Hollywood: Teen Edition||Himself (1 episode)|
|Wreck-It Ralph||Story artist|
|2014||Lennon or McCartney||Documentary short|
|Achmed Saves America||Original character designer|
|2017||Smurfs: The Lost Village||Director, voice: Nosey Smurf|
|Cake Wars||Himself: guest judge|
|2018||Sherlock Gnomes||Based on characters, creative consultant, storyboard artist, voices: Goons|
|2019||UglyDolls||Director, voices: Gibberish Cat, Oliver, and Chef|
|The Addams Family||Story consultant, special thanks|
- Rusty's Red Vacation (1997)
- Bonnie's Blue House (1997)
- Yolanda's Yellow School (1997)
- Thanksgiving Parade (2000; illustrations only)
- Turkey Time (2000; illustrations only)
- Where is Snowy's Nose (2000)
- Frankensquare (2001)
- Witch Dot (2001)
- Candy Corn (2001)
- Autumn Walk (2003; illustrations only)
- Winter Walk (2003; illustrations only)
- Dummy Days: America's Favorite Ventriloquists from Radio and Early TV (2003)
- Wild Witches' Ball (2004; illustration only)
- https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:V6QT-271[bare URL]
- "Kelly Asbury". Museum of the Gulf Coast. Archived from the original on October 16, 2013. Retrieved October 7, 2013.
- "Kelly Asbury Biography". Showtimes.com. Archived from the original on February 1, 2014. Retrieved October 7, 2013.
- "The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. Archived from the original on October 8, 2013. Retrieved October 7, 2013.
- E1 strikes UK, Canada deal for Gnomeo And Juliet | News | screendaily.com
- Kelly Asbury Interview Archived May 15, 2011, at the Wayback Machine UGO Entertainment
- "Rusty's Red Vacation". Barnes and Noble. Retrieved October 4, 2013.
- Kit, Borys (October 7, 2011). "'Gnomeo and Juliet' Filmmaker Penning Pooch Cafe for Sony Pictures Animation". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 4, 2020.
- Gilligan, Paul (October 9, 2011). "Pooch Cafe Movie News". Pooch Cafe. Archived from the original on January 20, 2012. Retrieved July 4, 2020.
- Fleming, Mike Jr. (July 26, 2011). "Elton John's Rocket Pictures And Kelly Asbury Follow 'Gnomeo' With 'Will Gallows And The Snake Bellied Troll'". Deadline. Retrieved July 4, 2020.
- Patten, Dominic (June 23, 2012). "Sony Animation In Talks With Kelly Asbury For 'Kazorn & The Unicorn'". Deadline. Retrieved July 4, 2020.
- "Nikolas Ilic - Kazorn and the Unicorn".
- "Fábio Mendes on Twitter". Retrieved August 27, 2020.
- "Mauricio de Sousa predicts 3D animation about Horácio for 2017". NSC Total. June 18, 2013. Retrieved August 27, 2020.
- Amidi, Amid (June 26, 2020). "RIP, Kelly Asbury, Director Of 'Shrek 2' and 'Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron'". Cartoon Brew. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
- "Kelly Asbury, Director of 'Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron' and 'Shrek 2,' Dies at 60". Variety. June 26, 2020.
- Animated Views: Gnomeo & Juliet’s director Kelly Asbury Opens His Secret Garden!
- Kelly Asbury at IMDb
- Kelly Asbury at Find a Grave