Ryan Nicholson, a Victoria-raised makeup-effects artist with more than 140 film and television credits, died Tuesday after a 2 1/2-year battle with brain cancer. He was 47.
“I am greatly saddened to let all [Ryan’s] friends and fans know this heartbreaking news,” Nicholson’s wife, Megan, wrote on Facebook. “Ryan’s fight with cancer has come to an end. He fought with dignity and looked it right in the face. He made a lot of others with cancer feel strong and gave them the fight they needed.”
Nicholson — a self-taught prodigy who got his professional start at 16 — rose to fame in Vancouver film industry circles through his contributions to a series of high-profile feature films, including Deadpool 2, Elf, The Predator, Ghost Rider and The Chronicles of Riddick.
He won a Gemini Award in 2002 for his makeup work on the science fiction TV series Andromeda and worked on a wide range of projects during his 25-year career in feature films. Nicholson also directed several films under his Plotdigger Films banner, the most notable of which was the 2008 horror-comedy Gutterballs.
He also operated Flesh and Fantasy, a Burnaby-based make-up effects and animatronics company, which he co-founded in 1998 with his father, Roy.
Nicholson has deep roots in the Victoria area and was well known in the arts community. He was a member of Disturbed Company, one of Victoria’s first rap acts, and ran Front Row Video in Fernwood before it closed in the late 1990s.
He is survived by his wife, Megan Nicholson, and son, Taylor, as well as his parents, Roy and Carole Nicholson, his sister Chelsea Banys and her husband Ed, and niece Presley and nephew Lucky.