Todd Brian, the highly respected and amiable Director of Development, Animation for Canada-based kids & family powerhouse WildBrain (The Snoopy Show, Carmen Sandiego, Sonic Prime), has died aged just 59 years after a short battle with ALS. The warmly remembered animation executive and writer’s passing on December 28 in Toronto was announced by WildBrain today.
In a statement, the company described Brian as “hugely respected with great affection by all who knew him, particularly for his love of life and laughter as well as his outstanding creative talent” and as an executive with “deep creative instincts.” He took on his most recent WildBrain role in 2019, when the company was known as DHX Media, having previously collaborated with the studio as the creator and writer of an optioned series.
“Todd was not just my colleague but one of my dearest friends, we shared so much through our 17-year friendship. He made everyone he met feel appreciated and seen,” shared WildBrain’s Chief Content Officer, Stephanie Betts. “I’ll miss seeing his bright smile and hearing his playful laugh every day.”
Brian’s family wrote in his obituary: “Todd was a very charismatic soul who would light up a room with his energy and humor. He was an avid runner, participating in many marathons as well as a passionate tennis player, belonging to a League in Toronto. He was a world traveler, visiting both coasts of Canada, Vancouver and Halifax, Greece, Spain, France, and Australia among many other locations, having friends in every place he visited.”
A graduate of Ryerson University’s Film Studies program and the Canadian Film Centre, Brian built his strong industry relationships while working in various senior creative positions on both animation and live-action productions.
Before joining WildBrain, he honed his skill in roles at Corus Entertainment as Production Executive for Corus Kids; Development Executive – Kids & Family at Toronto-based marblemedia; a senior writer at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC); story editor/writer at eOne; and multiple credits as a writer and story editor ranging from preschool to tween and family co-view programming.
Brian’s credits include production executive on the animated series Esme & Roy and the award-winning short The Most Magnificent Thing, and writer on shows including Captain Flamingo, Jimmy Two-Shoes, Caillou and My Big, Big Friend.
Outside animation, he was a development coordinator at Barna-Alper Productions (acquired by eOne). His earlier experiences included working as Red Seal certified sous chef and as a Parliamentary Page for Queen’s Park in his teens.
Brian is survived by his mother, Judy Jacobs, and her husband Peter; brother Troy, his wife Susan and their children; sister Tara and her son; grandmother Mary Waley; extended family and many close friends in Toronto.
A celebration of life is being planned for late February in Windsor, Ontario.