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Andy Knight, RIP

Andy KnightAccording to a note posted by PaulD on this message board, veteran animator and director Andy Knight, died last Thursday, April 10, at age 46 after suffering a stroke. He was the co-founder of Toronto animation studio Red Rover, and had a long animation career in Europe and Canada. His early years are summed up a bit on the Red Rover website: “Launching his career as an animator at Gaumont in Paris he worked on many feature films, television shows and commercials across Europe and the US. Andy’s abilities were quickly noticed and he was asked to join Passion Pictures in London [1989] as creative director.”

Feature animator TotalD offers some thoughts on her blog about Andy’s work, including this comment: “Even so I think he was one of the best, if not the best board artist I have ever known and I know he was just a terrific person.”

Animator Ken Duncan offers photos of a young Andy Knight and a gag drawing by Knight.

Chris Stewart share a few thoughts about his mentor and former boss, Andy Knight, on his blog Grit My Teeth.

A Facebook memorial page has been set up where a lot of his friends and co-workers are sharing stories.

If you’d like to share memories about Knight and his work, please do so in the comments below. Artist Rich Dannys emailed some memories to us about working with Knight. Rich writes:

I worked at Andy’s studio, when we worked on episodes of Spumco’s Ripping Friends. But his studio was probably more renowned for its always excellent animated commercial work.

I sat next to Andy, while working on Ripping Friends. He could be a little shy and quiet. Which sometimes got confused with aloof & arrogant. But he was an unbelievable artist. And I really respected him a lot. He had a small office space. But for the most part, enjoyed working right in amongst the rest of us. Very much in the old style of the smaller New York studios, from yesteryear.

I believe he was Canadian-born but met his wife Linzi overseas. His wife Linzi is an Art College grad and a very successful live-action commercial director. I thought he mentioned, they met in Holland. But I believe she’s from England originally? He was working at his own studio in England, when Disney asked him to direct the sequel to Beauty & The Beast,, at their “new” Toronto studio. He balked, until Disney agreed to pay all of the expenses to move his studio to Toronto. He eventually set up in the Spadina/Adelaide area.

I don’t know alot about what Andy has all worked on. I know he had a friendship with Mike Smith from (Colossal) Pictures. And that they worked on the animated sequences in the live-action Tank Girl feature. His studio, Red Rover, did a lot of service work-type jobs. But they were also instrumental in “developing” a lot of properties that eventually ended up elsewhere like Pig City and RoboRoach. But I’m sure there were others.

When we worked on Ripping Friends, I saw him put together a small ad for home security that featured a very classical Disney-esque “Big Bad Wolf & The Three Pigs.” Beautifully done. All of his work was always very polished and finished-looking and worked within the Budgets given. And for the most part, he turned down the really “cheap” stuff.

Honestly, I didn’t know him all that well. But my buddy Jens Pindal (son of Kaj) worked at Red Rover, so, I used to drop by there now and then. I’ve been looking for more online reports about Andy’s passing, but haven’t been able to find any.