April 14, 2004 by

Micheline Charest


Categories: Business, Hollywood, Media

Micheline Charest, a co-founder of the CINAR animation company, died on April 14 from complications of plastic surgery. She was 51.
Born in Britain and raised in Quebec City, Charest dropped out of college and spent five years traveling through Europe. She attended the London Film School and met Roland Weinberg. They married, moved to New York and formed CINAR as a small film and television distribution company.
In 1984, the couple moved the company to Montreal. Within a few years, CINAR began producing award-winning cartoons that both educated and entertained millions of children. From 1987 to 1999, Charest served as the executive producer on 17 animated films and TV shows, including “Arthur,” “Emily of New Moon” and “Mona the Vampire.” At the time, the Hollywood Reporter ranked her as one of the most powerful women in the entertainment business.
Then in 2000, a financial scandal erupted at the animation company. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police began investigating allegations that CINAR had illegally benefited from federal tax credits by claiming Canadians wrote scripts that were actually penned by Americans. The authorities also examined claims that Charest and Weinberg had invested $122 million in Bahamian hedge funds without the permission of the board of directors.
Although Charest and Weinberg denied these charges, they were ousted from the company. In March, the Quebec Securities Commission fined them $1 million each. The couple was also barred from managing any Canadian company for five years.

32 Responses to Micheline Charest

  1. Une Amie

    Micheline was tough, and she was a coward.
    She had little compassion for others, and most sadly, used Eric and Alex as props to demonstrate that she had compassion, was loving and honest.
    I feel bad for Ron and Alex and Eric. As a parent, however, Ron always did a better job connecting with the kids as kids and not as mini-shareholders to be placated, manipulated or managed.

  2. Alex Carswell

    Micheline and Ron created and have left a legacy of work that enriched and continues to enrich countless families everywhere, as well as Canada’s reputation as a creative wellspring. Whatever you thought of her personally, unless there is obvious abuse, you have no right to criticize anyone’s family structure or parental philosophy. Every family is different, and free to be so.
    You are clearly bitter about losing money on Cinar stock, and guess what? You clearly fucking deserved to. I hope it was a lot.
    And, for the record, “cowards” are people who post anonymous messages.

  3. Outraged

    Vanity, vanity, vanity… I’m not one to speak ill of the dead, but putting oneself trough six hours of ELECTIVE surgery under general anesthesia is asking for trouble. No one needs grand medical knowledge to understand this.
    Triple surgery in the name of beauty, for a damn good looking 51-year-old who could have invested the money on some feng-shui of the mind instead… It’s not only the perky prepubescent bombshells in magazines that send us women the wrong message. With this one, “fashion victim” takes on a whole new sense.
    I pity Mrs. Charest. May she rest in peace, and may it be a lesson that beauty is not, at any cost, “to die for”.

  4. Nadine Napear

    I am related to Micheline and Ron and can tell you that when “Mich” entered a room, it became alive. Regardless of what happened to them in business, the loss of Mich will not soon be forgotten.

  5. anonym

    Well it sounds like alot of bitter people sounding off. I wonder how many of you worked for Cinar. Personally I have mixed feelings about her death, on one hand I had a great career in animation for almost eight years for good money ( a record almost unheard of in the business). On the down side, the business virtually became non-existant after the scandals broke, pulling other equally crooked companies down with it. I feel bad that this woman will be remembered for greed and vanity and not for providing talented people with a livelihood.

  6. Arnie Holland

    Micheline Charest was a wonderful woman, who I worked with closely as she was building Cinar with Ron. Determined, creative, passionate, and devoted to Ron, she was a strong woman — it takes one to build a company.
    I have no inside knowledge of what got her and Ron into trouble — but I’m certain their intentions were good. Good people are good people. As for the Canadian Content thing, I actually worked with them on a CanCon project, where intricate legal details were followed to the letter, and prominent lawyers were hired to make sure all was correct.
    People are always quick to want to pull down successful people, but I knew Micheline from the beginning, and she was one of the finer people I’ve run into in this business.
    Arnie Holland
    CEO, Lightyear Entertainment, New York

  7. Vincent Philion

    Very strange how people who praise Charest don’t comment on the numerous scandals (including the Claude Robinson affair). It’s easy to post messages and try to make her a saint… The FACTS show otherwise…
    Let her burn, she burned so many.

  8. E. J. Hogan

    The Woman was a major thief in my book. She hurt a lot of people who trusted and believed in her and her husband. I can not reveille in anyone’s death, but I have no compassion for this venal greedy woman.

  9. Vincent Philion

    Obviously, “those around her” don’t include all the people from whom she stole ideas, concepts, copyrights, etc.
    egocentrical thief and a liar. Point

  10. Nioxide

    to the person that wrote the post on april 17 2004 at 5.54pm. You surely don,t know what the hell you are talking about and it very sad and frustrating to see individual such as you that write such BS. Micheline loved her two kids very, very much and she never, as you wrote in your post, manipulated them.

  11. Nioxide

    To the person that wrote the post on April 28 2004 at 10:20pm, well lets talk about Claude Robinson, if Micheline stole his story why hasn’t the court found her guilty, why is that case taking so much time before it is brought in front of a judge. Claude Robinson, here is a guy that lives in a small 3 room appartment on the Plateau Mont Royal. Here is a guy that lives his life trying to get money from Ron and Micheline. That is all he lives for, can someone tell me what other works as he done as a animated film creator !!! He hasn’t done fuck all and his life is his law suit so he can enjoy a little bit of money and get out of that miserable appartment. Poor bastard get a life !!!

  12. Vincent Philion

    To the imbecile that wrote a comment on August 17th:
    Get your facts right before you write here:
    1) A judge did declare CINAR guilty in February 1997
    2) The appeals court also found CINAR guilty
    The case is still pending because CINAR, Charest, Weinberg etc put all their weight to stall the judiciary process.
    No comments on the rest of my previous posting?
    hum… So I guess you can’t argue with the TRUTH, Right?

  13. Jack

    to the jackass that wrote the post on august 17 2004 09:17pm. totally false and stop hiding behind your computer and give me a call at 514-362-1258 and we will talk live you asshole. What the fuck do you know about Micheline Charest private life. You tell me tough guy what other work has Claude Robinson done !!! you speak like he is such a great artist. the guy is only looking for cash !!! so let’s talk live and then we will see how you will talk to me.

  14. nioxide

    Again to the jerk that wrote the post on April 28
    ” and how you used bogus author names to cash copyright ”
    ” The tribunal couldn’t get to you, but In the end, there was still justice: Sentenced to death by vanity surgery. This is enough for me to believe in God. ”
    You poor man or woman, do you really believe that Micheline and Ron invented the system. Even before they created Cinar people in Quebec were using bogus author names !!!
    As for your second quote, well asshole your time will come, you better hide behind your computer and never never never reveil your identity you chicken shit son of a bitch. Sentence to death, man you will pay for these comments. You have no proof of what you are saying and give me a call 514-362-1258, we will chat. !!! I am not afraid to reveil my name nor where I live(MTL). As of today I will search to get you because you never knew Micheline and you are full of shits and lie about this tragedy !!!!

  15. Vincent Philion

    To the “high blood pressure” “psychopath” that wrote on August 20th…
    Wow, I can see why you like these criminals so much. You seem to agree with every illegal move in the book!
    Maybe your phone number should fall in the hands of the RCMP… Don’t you know threatening people is a federal offense?
    As for my comments: well, show me where I’m wrong…. I dare you! totally false? I can’t wait to read your version…
    Since I’m a gentleman, I will agree to publically apologize for any comment which is not factual. Good luck finding one…

  16. Scorpions

    To the frustrating jerk that wrote the August 30th post.
    well my friend I knew you wouldn’t call me and by the way I am not threating you. Make my day and go to the police my friend. You must be an old employee that got fired from Cinar. You have no case and your friend Robinson neither. You have the nerds to talk about Micheline personnel life, that is where I have a problem because you didn’t know fuck all about her personnel life. Where is the case going now !!! Why hasn’t there been a verdict nor a date for that supposely trial. You are obsess and frustrated as there is no evidence that Cinar has taken Robinson’s story. Keep hiding behind your computer and continue criticizing Micheline and Ron, if that make you a man well keep doing it !!! you are a loser and probably should check inb to Pinel Institution. See you jack ass. Criminal, you don,t have a clue of what a criminal is !!! poor loser, if you have kids, I surely feel sorry forn them and so is your wife.

  17. Une Amie

    I am very sorry your lost Micheline, your nephews lost their mother and your brother in law lost his wife.
    Your family didn’t deserve this at all.
    I think it’s important to separate who Mich was to you than who she was in business and to her employees.
    Understand that because you saw her behave one way with her kids and with her employees doesn’t mean that at times she treated both badly, sometimes very.
    I can tell you with certainty and experience that at certain times I saw her treat Eric and Alex like props. That doesn’t mean she didn’t love them dearly – I know I also saw guilt on her face when she was out of the country, when they had homework…were sick etc. All it means is she behaved that way sometimes.
    I can also tell you with certainty and experience that she someteimes treated her employees terribly, callously and, to be honest, she could be a coward.
    Does that mean she was a bad person? No. Does that mean she sometimes behaved without thought? Yes.
    Understand that Micheline played hardball in business. She cut corners, she broke rules, she broke laws, and she screwed people. Does that make her behaviour different than many? nope. Does that make her behaviour excusable? Nope again.
    You may not like what people are saying, but you cannot deny them their experience.
    I don’t know if Claude Robinson got screwed by Micheline and Ron, but if he did, he is certainly well within his rights to be upset about it, and to denigrate him as living in a small place on the Plateau isn’t fair. Had Micheline been screwed hard early in her career, maybe Cinar never would have been born…
    I do know of many people who were screwed by Micheline and Ron. I know that their employees thought them sometimes brilliant, sometimes terrible micromanagers who couldn’t see the forest for the trees or the trees for the forest.
    They never successfully made the transition from small business owners to CEOs. Their deep connection to what they built prevented them from separating themselves from the company.
    The smartest thing they could have done would have been to hire a CEO in 1996 so they could keep doing what they did best.
    Micheline didn’t deserve to die the way she did. I will echo those who say she was an incredible businesswoman, very driven, very intelligent, very accomplished. I wish she had been able to show the parts of herself that you have seen. You might be seeing a different type of post on here.
    My condolences to you and your family.

  18. scorpions

    to une amie, well it is so easy to come on this board and trash Micheline and Ron. Please give me some of the productions that Robinson has done in the past. He is in it for the money and he is looking at his only chance to get some cash.
    You think you know Micheline, how dare you to come on this public forum and assume that you know what Micheline did with her kids. It takes a lot of nervs, anyways I will not write anymore because you are like all the others. You hide behind your lab top and say bullshit about Micheline and Ron’s private life. You didn,t know her nor how she raised her family.

  19. Bruno

    to Vincent Philion, weel you seem to know alot about the entire Cinar story, you lost money and you take your vengence on Micheline death !!! Money money money, you are very frustrated my man.

  20. Vincent Philion

    Hello Bruno/scorpions. Enough said. After reading “une amie”, I understand that I was right on the facts, but wrong on the method. So, I also wish you sincere condolences.
    Yes, I know a few things about CINAR, but I never worked for them, never lost a dime to Charest/Weinberg, and I never met with Robinson.
    The evidence that was made public was enough to convince anyone the poor guy was screwed. I hope he can rebuild his life.
    I’m always disgusted when people screw others to move forward. I see no merit to this method of climbing to the top.

  21. Steverino

    this is the most fucked up comment thread i’ve ever seen. a bunch of computer geeks who don’t know each other name calling over a woman none of them ever really knew? damn folks. go get laid or something. and make a call about that sphincterectomy. every damn one of you needs one.

  22. Readmond

    Those of you that agree with me are wrong.
    She wasn’t at all like how those who are talking about her are saying! Sure, she did things and made people feel certain ways about her- but is that to be praised? Surely it is not a to be un-praised, is it? Face the facts- things occured, and not all of those things are in that realm of feeling. She was not what you are today, only back then was she like you then and now.
    Please listen to my praising censure!
    Remember that one must only look at the basic, not the past/present simple.
    (please forgive my English, it is my first language)


    I agree with Steverino this is one sad thread page. I can’t believe how mental some of you bitchers are. Get A Life – Game Over – Move On

  24. Venturia

    Hey Bruno: it’s time you got a life.
    Unless you’re worried “God” decides to be cynical again and terminate your life for the things you’ve done?

  25. Didier

    Cover story of The Gazette today on Claude Robinson and his courageous fight for justice.
    This poor man’s life’s work has been hijacked by corporate con artists like Ron Weinberg and Micheline Charest.
    May their names continue to be scum for eternity and may their children grow up out of their shameful, criminal shadows.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *