'Degrassi' Co-Creator Christopher "Kit" Hood Dies at 76

THE KIDS OF DEGRASSI STREET (1979)

When European buyers flocked to her Toronto-set young drama series, Degrassi creator Linda Schuyler knew she was on to something. What followed was a 30-year franchise that proved that America wasn't the only country tha could produce a global hit. The latest incarnation, Degrassi: The Next Generation, has sold to 140 countries. Not bad, eh?

The Canadian cult kids series gave a acting start to Drake, Nina Dobrev and Shenae Grimes.

Christopher "Kit" Hood, the co-creator of the long-running Canadian Degrassi TV franchise, which launched the young acting careers of rapper Drake and actresses Nina Dobrev and Shenae Grimes, has died. He was 76.

Hood "died suddenly" on Jan. 20 at his home in West Lawrencetown, Nova Scotia, a local funeral home reported on its website. No cause of death was given.

Fellow Degrassi co-creator Linda Schuyler in a statement said Hood's contribution to the Degrassi TV franchise had been essential and enduring.

"As Kit and I created Kids of Degrassi Street in the early 1980s, he shifted his focus to directing and brought his influence to the world of Degrassi. He added his trademark impish charm, and a kid’s-eye view, never letting the camera look down on our young protagonists," Schuyler said.

"Kit’s intimate and respectful style of directing, small of scale and richly layered, was integral to the success of the series through Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High. To this day, his style is deeply imbedded in Degrassi’s DNA," she added.

Born in 1943, Hood emigrated to Canada from Britain after starting his film career in London as an editor for Walt Disney Productions in the late 1960s. Schuyler and Hood in 1979 launched the Degrassi franchise under their Playing With Time production banner as iconic afterschool TV specials about Toronto high school students.

The property began with The Kids of Degrassi Street, and eventually evolved as an episodic drama to its newest installment on Netflix, Degrassi: Next Class, since 2016. Other iterations of the Degrassi franchise include Degrassi Junior High, Degrassi High and Degrassi: The Next Generation, which aired stateside on TeenNick.

Pasquale "Pat" Mastroianni, a Canadian actor who played Joey Jeremiah on the Degrassi drama, on Twitter praised Hood as "fundamental in laying the foundation of the Degrassi franchise."

Hood spent the last two decades in Nova Scotia, and is survived by two daughters, Georgia and Fenella, his wife Agnes Malouf and her daughter July, and his sister Nicola.