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Micheline Charest

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Micheline Charest
Born(1953-03-16)16 March 1953
London, England, United Kingdom
Died14 April 2004(2004-04-14) (aged 51)
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
(m. 1983; her death 2004)

Micheline Charest (16 March 1953 – 14 April 2004) was a British-born Canadian television producer and founder (and former co-chairman) of the Cinar (later Cookie Jar Entertainment and now DHX Media/WildBrain) television company.


Born in London and raised in Quebec, Charest returned to England to attend the London International Film School. In 1976, she traveled to New Orleans where she met her future husband, New Yorker and Tulane graduate Ronald A. Weinberg. While in New Orleans, Charest and Weinberg organized an event for a women's film festival, and worked at distributing foreign films to US theatres. The couple moved to New York and formed Cinar, then a budding film and television distribution company.

In 1984, Charest and Weinberg changed their focus from media distribution to production, and moved the business to Montreal, where they concentrated on children's television programming because of the favorable tax situation for development and distribution of TV shows. During this time, Charest served as either producer or executive producer for dozens of popular animated series for children, including The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Animal Crackers, Emily of New Moon, Mona the Vampire, and The Wombles. As a production company, Cinar was also involved in the work of Are You Afraid of the Dark?, The Busy World of Richard Scarry, Madeline, Space Cases, Zoboomafoo, Caillou, and Arthur. By 1999, Cinar boasted annual revenues of $150 million (CAD) and owned about $1.5 billion (CAD) of the children's television market. The company had become known for quality, non-violent children's programs broadcast in more than 150 countries and was one of the founding partners in the Canadian cable television channel TELETOON.


The success of Charest, Weinberg, and Cinar ended in March 2001, when an internal audit revealed that about $122 million (US) was invested into Bahamian bank accounts without the boardmembers' approval.[1] Cinar had also paid American screenwriters for work while continuing to accept Government of Canada grants for content. The names of Canadians, most notably, Charest's sister, Helene via the alias "Eric Alexandre" (Eric and Alex Weinberg are the names of Charest and Weinberg's sons), were credited for the work, allowing Cinar to benefit from Canadian tax credits. While the province of Quebec did not file criminal charges, Cinar denied any wrongdoing, choosing instead to pay a settlement to Canadian and Quebec tax authorities of $17.8 million (CAD) and another $2.6 million (CAD) to Telefilm Canada, a Canadian federal funding agency. The value of Cinar stock plummeted, and the company was soon delisted.[2]

In 2001, as part of a settlement agreement with the Commission des Valeurs Mobilières du Québec (Quebec Securities Commission) Charest and Weinberg agreed to pay $1 million each and were banned from serving in the capacity of directors or officers at any publicly traded Canadian company for five years. There was no admission of guilt and none of the allegations have been proven in court. In March 2004, Cinar was purchased for more than $140 million (US) by a group led by Nelvana co-founder, Michael Hirsh.[3] Charest and Weinberg reportedly received $18 million (US) for their company shares.

In August 2009, Claude Robinson, a graphic artist and writer, won a copyright case against Cinar, Weinberg, Charest and Co. in relation to his work, Robinson Curiosité, which was plagiarized for the internationally successful animated series Robinson Sucroë.

Personal life

Charest and Weinberg had two children together, Eric and Alex.[4]

Death and legacy

Charest died on 14 April 2004, due to complications ensued after elective plastic surgery.[5] She is survived by her husband Ronald Weinberg and two sons (aged 18 and 22).[6] According to  coroner Jacques Ramsay, Charest's death was preventable. The coroner's report indicates that Charest was doing well after the operation. Then, when she was transferred to the recovery room, her oxygen level dropped to 44 percent, without the nurses monitoring her noticing. “In my opinion, the alarm on the oxygen saturometer was not on. But it was in working order. I could not know why, ”lamented the coroner. It will be nearly twenty minutes before the nurses find out about this situation, then another ten minutes before anesthesiologist Maurice Trahan is notified, delays that the coroner says he is unable to explain. The coroner also denounced the fact that thirty-five minutes passed before Urgences-santé was contacted. He also said he was "frustrated" at the imprecision or lack of medical notes. The Notre-Dame Cosmetic Surgery Clinic has indicated that it will not comment on the criticisms leveled at it in the coroner's report.[7] a few months after Charest's death, Maurice Trahan resigned from his post following an investigation by the syndic of the Collège des médecins du Québec. For his part, the Minister of Justice of Quebec, Yvon Marcoux, refused to follow up on the request of Mark Charest, brother of the deceased, to bring criminal proceedings in this case.[8] Charest was ranked 19th in The Hollywood Reporter's 1997 list of the 50 most powerful women in the entertainment industry.[2]


  1. ^ Swift, Michael. "Cinar Co-Founders Fined $1 Million Each, Banned From Company For Five Years". March 15, 2005. Archived from the original on June 28, 2012. Retrieved 2006-09-07.
  2. ^ a b "In Depth: Micheline Charest". CBC News Online. April 14, 2004. Retrieved 2006-09-07.
  3. ^ "Cinar sold for $143.9 million US; new owner outlines growth strategy". CBC News Online. October 31, 2003. Retrieved 2006-09-07.
  4. ^ "Micheline Charest, co-founder of Cinar, dies". April 15, 2004. Archived from the original on April 27, 2006. Retrieved 2006-09-07.
  5. ^ Times Staff and Wire Reports (16 April 2004). "Micheline Charest, 51; Firm She Co-Founded Won Emmys Before Scandal Led to Losses". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 15 January 2013.
  6. ^ Claude Turcotte, "Death drama of Micheline Charest", Le Devoir, April 15, 2004, p. A1.
  7. ^ Page consultée le 20 septembre 2012.
  8. ^ Katia Gagnon, « Mort de Micheline Charest - La clinique blâmée », La Presse, 26 octobre 2006, p. A8

External links

This page was last edited on 29 December 2021, at 20:15
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