Ryan Larkin, the troubled, Oscar-nominated animator who was the subject of Chris Landreth’s Academy Award-winning 2005 short film, Ryan, passed away on Wednesday at the age of 63. The National Film Board of Canada standout was diagnosed with brain cancer while trying to put his life back on track after years of substance abuse and homelessness.
Larkin earned his first Oscar nomination for his 1969 short Walking, and garnered another nomination in 1972 for Street Musique. He produced animated films with the National Film Board of Canada until 1978, honing his talents under the tutelage of famed experimental animator Norman McClaren.
Ryan, a 14-minute, CG-animated documentary, drew attention to the fact that Larkin’s drug and alcohol abuse reduced him to begging for spare change on the streets of Montreal. The support he had since received helped him get back to work on a handful of projects. In addition to producing a series of short bumpers for MTV Canada, he had begun work on a new animated short film titled Spare Change in collaboration with composer Laurie Gordon of the band Chiwawa. The two formed Spare Change Prods. in 2005 and Larkin was to create animation for three Chiwawa songs for the film, which was still in need of funding.