R.I.P. Toronto Actor Denis Akiyama

R.I.P. Toronto Actor Denis Akiyama
Denis Akiyama — a Toronto actor who is recognized for his role in Johnny Mnemonic, starring on Broadway and voicing a number of animated TV series — has died. His son, Kintaro Akiyama, confirmed the actor passed last Thursday (June 28) from cancer. Denis Akiyama was 66.

Akiyama's career began in Canada as a graduate of George Brown College's theatre program, leading to roles in Canadian TV series Seeing Things and Check It Out. Those early appearances would lead to roles in romantic drama Captive Hearts, David Cronenberg's 1988 film Dead Ringers and CBC's Street Legal.

Akiyama's on-screen profile grew with his role in Robert Longo's 1995 cyberpunk thriller Johnny Mnemonic, playing whip-wielding villain Shinji who is set on chasing down star Keanu Reeves. 

Akiyama starred in a number of other films shot in the Toronto area, including Resident Evil: Afterlife and Repo Men. He also appeared in Adam Sandler's 2015 film Pixels as Toru Iwatani, the designer of Pac-Man, who attempts to stop the iconic character from devouring a city.

Akiyama's voice acting can be heard in a number of animated series. He voiced Iceman, Silver Samurai and Sunfire in the X-Men Animated Series and Malachite/Kunzite in the original English version of Sailor Moon

He was also involved in theatre, performing in both the Toronto and Broadway productions of Miss Saigon, in addition to Sally Han's Naomi's Road and Hiro Kanagawa's The Tiger of Malaya.

Akiayma continued to work until his diagnosis with bladder cancer late last year. Find posts in tribute from fans and contemporaries below.