Ryan Larkin: 1943-2007
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Ryan Larkin: 1943-2007

Torontoist was very saddened to learn of yesterday’s passing of Canadian animation legend Ryan Larkin.
In an article last December about his station ID tags for MTV Canada, Torontoist wrote of Larkin:

Between the groundbreaking (and Oscar-nominated) Walking in 1969 and his equally revolutionary follow-up, Street Musique, three years later, Ryan Larkin cemented his status as among the most daring and brilliant animators of his time, taking hand-drawn animation to a previously-unseen level of surreal impressionism. He was the rising star of the NFB – the protégé of, and successor to, Norman McLaren – but the pressure to top his earlier triumphs exacerbated his already-present problems with drug- and alcohol-dependency. He left the NFB in 1978, and after a “hazy” decade during which he managed to get himself off of cocaine, Larkin took up panhandling outside Schwartz’s deli in Montréal. This tragic fall from grace was chronicled in Chris Landreth’s 2004 Academy Award-winner for Best Animated Short, Ryan, which renewed attention on Larkin, who nevertheless chose to continue his long stint on The Main.

In a comment posted to that article, Larkin’s friend and business partner Laurie Gordon told us that they were “working hard to get [Larkin’s first short in thirty years] Spare Change finished as soon as possible for fall 2007.”
Although he won’t be able to see the film, we hope that it can be completed in some way so that his final vision reaches the audience it deserves.
UPDATE: Commenter Chester Pape brings to our attention that Gordon “will continue to work on Spare Change in Ryan’s memory” and that it is still on track for a fall release. Perhaps it will be the centrepiece of a Larkin tribute at TIFF?
Still from Ryan taken from NFB.ca.