Kelly Asbury, ‘Shrek 2’ and ‘Uglydolls’ Director, Dies at 60

He also directed “Smurfs: The Lost Village” and “Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron”

Last Updated: June 26, 2020 @ 4:33 PM

Kelly Asbury, an animation director known for directing “Shrek 2,” “Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron” and most recently “Uglydolls,” has died. He was 60.

Asbury died peacefully Friday in Encino, California, following a long battle with cancer, a representative for Asbury, Nancy Newhouse Porter, told TheWrap.

Asbury has a story credit on Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” and additionally wrote the screenplay and story for “Gnomeo & Juliet,” which he also directed in 2011. Asbury got his start at Disney between 1983 and 1995, contributing storyboards for Golden Age Disney films such as “The Little Mermaid,” “The Black Cauldron,” “The Rescuers Down Under” and more.

Upon shifting to DreamWorks in 1995, his directorial debut was for the 2002 animated film “Spirit,” which was nominated for an Oscar. He would even provide additional voices for “Shrek 2” and in “Shrek the Third.” “Shrek 2,” which he co-directed with Andrew Adamson, would ultimately gross $928 million at the worldwide box office and was likewise nominated for an Oscar.

He had a brief stint back at Disney as a story artist for both “Frozen” and “Wreck-It-Ralph,” and he was most recently credited as a story consultant on “The Addams Family” and directed the STX film “Uglydolls” both from last year.

Outside of his work in film, Asbury was a published author of a dozen different children’s books and also wrote a 2003 non-fiction biography called “Dummy Days: America’s Favorite Ventriloquists From Radio and Early TV.” The book included a foreword from Leonard Maltin and an Afterword from comedian Jeff Dunham, and the book profiled artists such as Edgar Bergen, Paul Winchell, Jimmy Nelson and Shari Lewis.

Asbury was born in Texas and is an alum of Lamar University before transferring to the California Institute of the Arts in 1980 to study animation and film.

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