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Cinar Founder Charest Dies Following Plastic Surgery

Cinar founder Micheline Charest died on April 14, 2004 from complications following plastic surgery, reports She was 51.

Along with her husband, Ronald Weinberg, she founded the children's entertainment company Cinar in 1976 in New York. In 1984, the company moved to Montreal as a dubbing firm. The couple grew the firm into one of the top production houses in North America. In 1993, the same year Cinar went public, the Association of Canadian Venture Capital Companies named Charest Canadian entrepreneur of the year. In 1994, Charest was #19 on the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER's list of the 50 most powerful women in the North American entertainment industry.

However, four years ago, her and her husband lost Cinar in a financial scandal that linked the execs to a non-board approved investment of $122 million of Cinar's money in the Bahamas. In addition, it was also revealed that Charest and Weinberg used fake screenwriter names, which included Charest's sister, to retain Canadian tax credits as well as using company funds to pay for private employees and their children's education.

Charest and Weinberg were fined $1 million each as part of a settlement with the Quebec Securities Commission, however neither of them ever admitted guilt. No criminal charges were ever filed.

Charest was born in Britain in 1953, but grew up in Quebec City, Canada. She dropped out of college and traveled Europe for five years before attending the London Film School, where she would meet Weinberg. She began her career at the National Film Board's Studio D, the women's studio, in 1973. Charest and Weinberg married in 1976.

Charest is survived by Weinberg and her two children with him. Funeral arrangements have not been completed.

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