Kate Macdonald Butler

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Kate Macdonald Butler
Other names Kate Macdonald
Occupation television producer
Known for Well known heir of Lucy Maud Montgomery

Kate Macdonald Butler is a Canadian television producer, and President of the Heirs of L.M. Montgomery.[1][2][3][4] She is a granddaughter of celebrated author Lucy Maud Montgomery, and one of the heirs to her intellectual property rights, and has been a principal in multiple law suits to secure those rights.[5]

On September 17, 2008, marking the 100th anniversary of the publication of Anne of Green Gables, Butler published an op-ed in The Globe and Mail in which she revealed that Lucy Maud Montgomery had struggled with depression for most of her adult life.[6][7] She revealed that her family knew of how Montgomery's struggles with depression, and the burden of caring for a husband himself in the grip of severe mental illness, had led her to drug addiction and despair. Butler revealed that the family believed Montgomery had intentionally given herself a fatal overdose.[8] According to CBC Books, Butler wrote the op-ed to try and strip the shame from living individuals struggling with mental health issues.

Kevin Sullivan and Montgomery's heirs reached an agreement in 1984 that allowed him to produce the highly popular 1985 miniseries that starred Megan Follows.[1] The agreement gave the family an upfront lump sum, and promised them a share of the profits "in perpetuity" on the original productions and on derivative works. Butler and her fellow heirs took Sullivan and his production company, Sullivan Entertainment, to court in 1999.[9][10] The prospectus written for potential investors when Sullivan planned to turn Sullivan Entertainment into a publicly-traded company described the original series and derivative works as highly profitable, yet he had told Montgomery's heirs there were no profits to share. Sullivan counter-sued, for defamation.

In 2012 Butler took a lead role in producing three new adaptations of the Green Gables story, starring Martin Sheen.[2][11] She was involved "from script to screen".

In 2017 when another team of filmmakers was adapting the Green Gables story that would air head-to-head with her version Butler was nevertheless gracious, stating "it's an evergreen property and a classic.".[4]

In 2017 Butler published an updated version of the 112-page cookbook she first published in 1985, "The Anne of Green Gables Cookbook: Charming Recipes from Anne and Her Friends in Avonlea".[12] It consists of recipes Butler adapted from her grandmother's books, with advice on cooking, and kitchen etiquette addressed to younger readers.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Gayle Macdonald. The red-haired girl goes to court, The Globe and Mail, 2003-10-25. “It estimated earnings of $6.4-million for that fiscal year on revenue of $35.7-million. Those numbers stuck in the craw of Macdonald and Lucy Maud's granddaughter Kate Macdonald Butler, who had been informed in 1997 by Sullivan Entertainment that none of the programs had reported a net profit.”
  2. 2.0 2.1 Caroline Halleman. Actor Martin Sheen on Why Now Is the Time to Revive Anne of Green Gables: The much-loved story returns to PBS this Thanksgiving, Town and Country magazine, 2016-10-24. Retrieved on 2020-04-30. “Of course, this isn't the first Anne of Green Gables adaptation. "Over the last 100 years, it's been told a few times," said Kate Macdonald Butler, L.M. Montgomery's granddaughter, who serves as the executive producer of the new film and has been involved 'from script to screen.'
  3. Stewart, Dave. New Anne of Green Gables movie to air on Islander Day, The Guardian, 2016-01-15. Retrieved on 2016-03-17.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Nigel Hunt. Ain't your grandmother's Anne': new series gives gritty Green Gables amid glut of Anne adaptations, CBC News, 2017-03-19. Retrieved on 2020-04-30. “The glut of adaptations speaks to its enduring appeal. "I think it touches so many people on so many levels," said Kate Macdonald Butler, the granddaughter of Anne of Green Gables author Lucy Maud Montgomery and an executive producer of the TV movies.”
  5. Anne of Green Gables: A glimpse of the filming of a much-loved story, CBC News, 2015-06-14. Retrieved on 2020-04-30. “And, despite the past production company's legal wranglings with the author's descendants, this adaptation has the blessing of L.M. Montgomery's granddaughter, Macdonald Butler. She said she was approached several times with some interesting projects, "but [with] this project, they maintain the integrity of the story and they are respectful," referring to the executive producers at Breakthrough Entertainment, who include Joan Lambur, Ira Levy, Peter Williamson and others.”
  6. Kate Macdonald Butler. The heartbreaking truth about Anne's creator, The Globe and Mail, 2008-09-17. Retrieved on 2009-08-13.
  7. 75 facts you might not know about Anne of Green Gables and author Lucy Maud Montgomery, CBC Books, 2017-04-25. Retrieved on 2020-04-30. “On the 100th anniversary of the publication of Anne of Green Gables, Montgomery's granddaughter Kate Macdonald Butler wrote an essay in the Globe and Mail revealing that Montgomery's family believed that she had died by suicide.”
  8. (2013) Benjamin Lefebvre: The L.M. Montgomery Reader: Volume One: A Life in Print. University of Toronto Press. ISBN 9781442644915. Retrieved on 2020-04-30. “L.M. Montgomery died at her home in Toronto on Friday, 24 April 1942. The cause of death is not mentioned in this obituary in the Globe and Mail, published the following day, but her death was considered by Stuart Macdonald and by her physician to have been a suicide - a belief not made public until 2008, when Stuart Macdonald's daughter, Kate Macdonald Butler, broke her silence in an essay also published in the Globe and Mail.” 
  9. Etan Vlessing. Banff 2012: New 'Anne of Green Gables' TV Series in Development (Exclusive), The Hollywood Reporter, 2012-06-10. Retrieved on 2020-04-30. “And it was about money, as the claims and counter-claims of the nasty profit dispute led Sullivan Entertainment, run by Kevin Sullivan and Trudy Grant, in fall 1999 to pull plans for a lucrative Toronto Stock Exchange listing and to sue the Montgomery heirs for slander.”
  10. Modern Day Anne Of Green Gables Retelling Headed To Canadian Television, Cinema Blend, 2012-06-11. Retrieved on 2020-04-30. “This has not been for lack of trying. A series pitting Anne in the modern world and dealing with modern issues has been in the works for at least a decade. Way back in 1999, Montgomery’s heir, Kate Macdonald Butler released a statement explaining her position in a dispute with Sullivan Entertainment. The dispute lasted a long time, and any new Anne of Green Gables potential programs were put on a long and uncompromising hold.”
  11. Melanie Fishbane. Maud author Melanie Fishbane on the various TV and movie adaptations of Anne of Green Gables, Quill & Quire, 2016-11-30. Retrieved on 2020-04-30. “I was thrilled when Kate Macdonald Butler announced she was going to be executive producing a new adaptation of her grandmother, L.M. Montgomery’s, classic Anne of Green Gables. It had been almost 30 years since Kevin Sullivan’s miniseries first aired, and while there is a special place in my heart for at least the first two movies, the later movies go so far off text they might as well not exist (and for me they don’t). It was time for something new.”
  12. (2017) The Anne of Green Gables Cookbook: Charming Recipes from Anne and Her Friends in Avonlea. Race Point Publishing. ISBN 9781631063749. Retrieved on 2020-04-30.