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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.

  • slowtiger

    I met Andy at Hahn Film in Berlin in the early 90’s, where he contributed storyboards for several projects, including “Werner” and “Asterix in America”. Since we shared offices sometimes I had the pleasure to watch him draw, at amazing speed, in his distinct style. He was quiet and always friendly, although he was kept busy at a murderous speed. Often he was called to rescue a project which otherwise wouldn’t meet its deadline. Sometimes he was flewn in just for a weekend, and in this short time he boarded complete episodes, with flawless results.

  • We are all shocked and saddened by Andy’s sudden passing. He was such an easy going guy and friendly to everyone. He came to love everyone he worked with and even when times were rough in the industry after 9/11, he still could not bring himself to lay anyone off, as they had all become his friends. That’s just the kind of guy he was. I can’t believe he’s gone.

    He passed away Friday April 11th in France. He was there that week to pitch some shows and it was going really really well. When I chatted with him Thursday, he said it was really great, that there was a lot of interest and people ready to sign contracts with him. Even over the phone, I could tell he was beaming. Friday, he was supposed to golf but the weather was bad, so he and the Redrover gang that was with him in France, all went to a village called Eze to roam and shop, etc.. He was standing outside a shop with Hong Kim waiting for the others come out, but had the stroke at that moment. It was very quick and he didn’t really have time to suffer. We are not sure what day the funeral will be, but we’ll spread the word once we hear.

    Andy was survived by his wife Linzi and their 3 children.

    Andy, we’ll miss you terribly. There isn’t one in a million like you. My prayers go out to you and your family at this tragic time.

  • one night at red rover me and another guy opened up andy’s cabinet and looked at his old drawings.

    andy did development work on francis ford coppola’s planned pinnochio feature film. the storyboards were INCREDIBLE. maybe i saw work of that caliber elsewhere but i certainly never held anything like it in my hands. i was awestruck. those images haunt me. like total d says, the guy could draw circles around anybody.

    his directing instincts were flawless. his spots are terrific and above reproach. andy could have made a feature and i always hoped that someday he would.

    but what i’ll remember most is what a nice, kind fellow he was. he’d never put up with bullshit, that’s for sure. but he was fair and funny and evenheaded and just an all around swell guy. ask anyone who knew him.

    i am very very sad about this. nobody could replace this guy. my heart goes out to his family.

    what a loss.

  • NancyB

    Andy apparently died of a massive stroke after going outside ‘for some air’ while on a business trip to France. He was only 46 years old.

    I, too, worked with him at Hahnfilm in the late eighties and was amazed at how quickly he could turn out layouts–it was almost as if he was animating.

    He was one of the most talented artists I’ve ever worked with. I would like to extend my condolences to his family and friends.

  • Deane Taylor

    Bugger! A highly respected individual of extraordinary talent and a huge inspiration to all those who have had the pleasure of working by his side.

    So sorry to hear this news and wish my very best to those he leaves behind.

  • Glenn Chaika

    I met Andy years ago when I was living and working in London for Disney. I picked up some freelance work from Passion Pictures and I met him and another great artist named Chuck Gammage. We not only worked together on some stuff but also hung out together at times going to some good Pubs. I remember Andy being a great guy and as everyone knows, a VERY talented artist. I really liked him. I was so happy to hear about his own company in Toronto. We will miss him AND his abilities.

  • greg m.

    Sad, sad news. As all the others have pointed out – Andy was a GREAT guy!

    My condolences go out to his family and circle of friends worldwide.

    May he rest in peace.

  • I’m still in shock at the news.

    I worked with Andy briefly in Berlin just before the Wall came down. He was an amazing, inspiring talent and an all round nice guy.

    I would like to express my sincere condolences to his family and friends.

  • Andy was working for Hahn Film when Jürgen and I started to work there in 1988. We were amazed and awed by his talent and also by the fact that he lacked any kind of conceit. He was just a nice, helpful guy. This is truly a great loss for the industry. Our thoughts are with Linzi and his kids.

    Mo & Jürgen

  • I’m shocked and sadden to hear the news of Andy’s passing.

    Most of my memories of Andy are back in the 80’s and 90’s when many of us worked along side Andy in Paris, Germany, London and LA. He was part of the new wave of artists to come into the industry and really make his mark.

    My thoughts are with Andy’s family at this difficult time.

  • We found out this sad news on Friday, and still can’t believe it. I had the utmost respect for Andy. I can think of few people who matched his skill level. And as talented as he was, he was ten times nicer.

    Our heartfelt condolences to his family, his friends and the animation community. He is already missed.

  • Kaj Pindal

    My family and I are shocked and terribly saddened by the premature passing of Andy Knight. I remember him as a student at Sheridan and has since followed his remarkable career. Our thoughts and heartfelt condolences go foremost out to his wife and children and friends.

    He will be missed.
    Jens,Lars,Kristina,Kaj and Annie

  • hesty leibtag

    It is with a very heavy heart that I say goodbye to one of Canada’s most talented and gifted individuals that helped shape the animation industry in this country. Andy’s passion for his craft and ongoing commitment to creative excellence, has left a permenant footprint in the hearts and minds of everyone who has known and worked with him. It is my suggestion that we in the industry help create a scholarship fund for an Animation student in his memory. Andy you will be missed dearly. To Lindsay, the children and his family, my heartfelt sympathies. Wishing you great strength during this very difficult time.

  • Steven Graham

    Andy’s talent was only surpassed by his kindness. He was a joy to be around; truly, a good man. His untimely passing saddens me greatly.

  • Greg Tiernan

    Very sad news indeed.

    Andy was an incredible talent and, as the comments here and on other animation websites attest, a guy who both personally and professionally was much respected by all who knew him.

    I worked with Andy in Berlin in the late eighties and our paths have crossed many times since. Little did I know that when I dropped in to Red Rover last time I was in Toronto that it would be the last time that I saw Andy.

    My condolences to Andy’s family and from the crew at my company to everyone at Red Rover.

  • Jamie Oliff

    Wow, what a shock.

    I went to Sheridan with Andy and he drew circles around the lot of us back then too…My heartfelt thoughts go out to his wife and children.

    He will be missed.

  • Ian Hastings

    Last friday was an extremely difficult day at Red Rover. When Danielle broke the bad news to us there was immediate shock and disbelief that something so tragic could happen to someone so full of life and charisma.

    Andy has played a huge roll in my life and in my development as an artist and I regret not ever telling him that. His confidence and creative talent was truly inspiring. His warm, generous quick-witted and fun-loving personality is what I’ll miss the most though.

    Today the studio is quiet and contemplative as we each miss Andy in our own way. I had been looking forward to his return from France; today I was going to show him the progress we’ve made on our current project over the last couple of weeks. I keep expecting him to come around the corner and head over to my desk to check things out. His presence and energy in the studio was very strong and it’s going to take a long time to get used to him not being there.

    My sincerest condolences go out to his family and the large circle of friends and co-workers that will certainly miss him.

  • I am totally shocked by this tragic news.

    Andy was the best and fastest artist I have met in my career. I have worked on only one project with him in the 80’s and recall the disbelief of the co-workers at his incredible speed and talent, I called him the human tornado, as I remember the drawings flying all around him, each one perfect.

    It is a very saddening news for the animation industry as talent such as his is so very rare.

    There is another quality which is very rare in this business: Honesty and kindness. Andy will be remembered for both.

    Our thoughts goes to Linzi, his children and his family. We wish you strength and courage.

  • Mell Findlay

    Andy was one of the best guys I’ve had the pleasure of working for.

  • Mark and I spent quite a lot of time with Andy and Linzi when he worked at Passion Pictures in London a long while ago. We were very shocked to hear the news.

    You always think that you will catch up again one day and it is sad that now we won’t be able to do that. He was obviously very talented and always had a lot of energy and enthusiasm. Our thoughts are with Linzi and their children.

  • Ever since hearing the news on Friday I`ve been lost for words that can express what a lost this is to everyone that knew him. Andy was a great guy to be around and I was lucky enough to have dinner with him recently. He was an incredible talent and a great person. This is a devasting lost not only to the animation community in Toronto, but to the entire animation community around the world.
    He will be missed. Everyone at Yowza send their thoughts and prayers to Linzi, their children and all of Andy`s family.

  • Lee Williams

    Stunned to say the least. Andy will be truly missed. An amazing talent lost. All of us at Boomstone Animation send our thoughts to his wife, children, family and to all his close friends.

  • I will always remember his smile and casual way he carried himself. He was a grand master of animation and an incredible human being.

    I am proud to say I knew Andy Knight. I miss him terribly.

    My most sincere condolences to his family, friends and the animation industry.

  • Robin Budd

    Andy was, and forever will be, such an amazing and inspiring talent, and taken from us far too soon. All of us in the tight knit world of animation send his family our deepest wishes of sympathy.

  • Stu Connolly

    Andy was not only an amazing artist – he was a rare breed in being a
    creative with a clever business head. I was always inspired by that
    entrepreneurial streak – it wasn’t just setting up Red Rover in TO, there was those online businesses like & who knows how many other ventures he had his fingers in. He’s surely the only animator out there who directed a credit card commercial that starred himself!

    That willingness to take a risk included the many artists & writers he gave a break to – including myself. I arrived in Toronto in 2000 only knowing Andy’s name thru a pal and Ned’s Newt – he opened doors, gave me a desk & whipped me in a game of pool within the first hour of walking in the door. For that I’ll always be grateful. Thoughts are with Linzi & family.

  • Adora (doyette) Muhallin

    It was year 1997, when I first met ANDY. I came for interview for a nanny position, for Romi and Oliver and later Sofi was born. His wife LINZI sat with me for interview while ANDY was chasing crawling Oliver around whom at that time was only 8 months old. So for about over an hour, Linzi and I were basically just chatted the whole time, and ANDY barely said a word but obviously was listening to our conversation. I thought he was one good looking man. At the end of the “interview”, Linzi told Andy and she wanted to hire me and all ANDY said was…. COOL. Then I asked “Aren’t you guys going to ask me any question about me” ANDY laughed and said…”You two were talking like you’ve known each other for a long time, so I guess no need for question “ And he gave the question back to me and I said, “O yes, I have one, are you a celebrity?” He laughed and I think I embarrassed him, and I apologized. He didn’t answer it, anyway.

    Though, our working relationship has ended after almost 3 years for a reasonable cause, our friendship remains. These are the few among many memories ANDY left for us and my family, ANDY gave us our very first car, it was his old 1988 Buick that was stored in his garage for years, and he was right then when he said to me that it was still a good car, because we had driven it for almost 4 years. ANDY made me famous for day; he suggested to me that I should have my chicken adobo to be featured at the Toronto Sun. Chicken adobo is a Filipino dish that I cooked for them and ANDY just loved it. When he convinced me, he took care of everything. The day when it was featured he was the one that more excited than I was. Another thing that I would always remember ANDY was when he called my name with “Hey” in it, even on the phone, and I am sure many of you would also remember him for that as well.

    He always asked about William, my son, every chance I talked to him.

    The last time I talked to ANDY was beginning of this year, I came by to drop off my Christmas presents for the children, we had a little reunion, and it was a happy day. He was showing to us his backyard that is being renovated and reminded me to come and visit on summer time for bbq and the kids to play at the hot tub. He was happy.

    We are still in shock about his passing, as everyone is.

    ANDY KNIGHT, You were a genuine KIND HEARTED person…most HUMBLE man I have ever known, a truly AMAZING FATHER and SUPER COOL, employer.


    Our thoughts and prayer to Linzi, Romi, Oli, Sofi and to his families.

  • This is hard news to hear. Andy Knight had chutzpah! He made the Toronto (and international) animation community a brighter place.

    It’s a great shame that he’s gone. Our deep condolences to Andy’s family and his friends at Red Rover, who must miss him terribly.

  • gary dunn

    i was so shocked to hear this sad news.-i can’t say i knew andy well, our paths only crossed for a short time when i was animating commercials for passion in the early 90’s..

    it was clear to me then that this chap was super talented..and so focused..i have followed his work and the work of red rover for years now, and have found it a great source of inspiration-my thoughts are with his family and with all the guys that clearly loved and respected him.

  • Keith Ingham

    I was very fortunate to have worked with Andy in Paris.

    Andy shone and the world will be a darker place without him.

    My sincere condolences to Linzi, their children, and his team at Red Rover.

  • Stephane Sainte-Foi

    J’ai travaillé avec Andy sur le premier Astérix à Paris et j’ai le souvenir de quelqu’un de très gentil et doux. C’est triste. Sincère condoléances à sa famille et ses proches.

  • steve ashton

    I worked and/or played with Andy in Paris, London, Berlin & Toronto. We all know about his spooky ability to draw like a dream whist telling funny stories and probably working on his taxes at the same time.

    A highpoint of any visit to Toronto was always lunch with Andy & any other Red Roverites who cared to tag along. Topics would range from the cartoon project at hand to… to the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, and then back again via god-knows-what.

    His eyes always twinkled.

    My deepest sympathies to Linzi, Romi, Oliver and Sofi and all the bereft folks at Red Rover.

  • NancyB

    The visitation was today and the funeral is April 21st.
    Here is a link to the obituary from the TORONTO GLOBE AND MAIL. There is a charity that one can make donations to in Andy’s memory.

  • …….rest in Pease dear Andy.
    Though it is hard to understand the pain
    of all those left behind,
    dear Linzi accept my condolences and thoughts
    for you and the kids.

    Panagiotis Rappas
    Athens Greece

  • Armin Prediger

    I am still in shock at hearing about Andy’s sudden and unexpected death. A truly tragic loss. I first met Andy in Hahn Film around 1990/91, and he was a true pleasure to know as well as work and play with, and like so many of Andy’s friends mentioned here and elsewhere, the conversation would always quickly stray from shop talk. Steve Ashton’s observation especially stood out to me: “His eyes always twinkled.” One of the most talented people in the business, Andy was also one of the most genuinely interesting and kind-hearted. The world is a poorer place without him.

    My heart-felt condolences to Linzi and all of Andy’s loved ones.

  • Angela Carroll

    Borrowed from a Star Wars movie, I can say only this about Andy:

    “Of all the souls I have encountered in my travels, his was the most human”.

    Indeed it was.
    Rest in peace Andy.
    To Linzi and all of Andy’s loved ones, my heart-felt condolences .

    And hugs.

  • After just having stumbled over this posting, I am shocked and saddened. I have always hoped to meet Andy again.

    I have only met Andy while working for Gerhard Hahn in the late 80s. After hours was party time, and I remember the last whole evening of Andy and myself trying to figure out where we had met before, as we both seemed to know each other incredibly well – like brothers. Yet we found no common history – we had never before been in the same place at the same time. It was the strangest thing. So ever since, I have looked forward to renewing my acquaintance.

    Now I can only leave my condolences to the ones left behind.

  • scott caple

    I worked with Andy at Nelvana in some long ago age of animation, somewhere around Carebears/Gadget time. My main memories are of hitting the bar after work. Didn’t get get to know him really really well, but we talked alot about sailing. He had been an instructor on board the brigantines Pathfinder and Playfair down at Harbourfront and like his work in animation, he was an excellent sailor; sailed all over Georgian Bay and crossed the Atlantic, I think. I remember him explaining about rhumb lines – lines on the old fashioned maritime charts that somehow provide a constant bearing and keep you on course while providing the easiest fastest route between two points ( I don’t remember now…have to look it up) but isn’t that just what he was doing all the time.
    Deepest regrets to his family, whom I never met, but are no doubt as supercool as he was.

  • david pritchard

    just to say what a great guy he was .. sad news

  • Michael Salkeld

    Very sad.