(April 11, 1914 - January 27, 1987) Scotland - Canada
McLaren was born in Stirling, Scotland and studied set design at the Glasgow School of Art. His early experiments with film and animation included actually scratching and painting the film stock itself, as he did not have ready access to a camera. His earliest extant film, Seven Till Five (1933), a "day in the life of an art school" was influenced by Eisenstein and displays a strongly formalist attitude.
McLaren's next film, Camera Makes Whoopee (1935), was a more elaborate take on the themes explored in Seven Till Five, inspired by his acquisition of a Ciné-Kodak camera, which enabled him to execute a number of 'trick' shots. McLaren used pixilation effects, superimpositions and animation not only to display the staging of an art school ball, but also to tap into the aesthetic sensations supposedly produced by this event.
His two early films won prizes at the Scottish Amateur Film Festival, where fellow Scot and future NFB founder John Grierson was a judge.
Norman McLaren was a pioneer in a number of areas of animation and filmmaking, including drawn on film animation, visual music, abstract film, pixilation and graphical sound.
His awards included an Oscar for the Best Documentary in 1952 for Neighbours , a Silver Bear for best short documentary at the 1956 Berlin International Film Festival Rythmetic and a 1969 BAFTA Award for Best Animated Film for Pas de deux .
His longtime companion was NFB director Guy Glover, whom he met at the ballet in London in 1937. The two were together until McLaren's death.
McLaren retired from the Film Board in 1984. Long in poor health, he died of a heart attack in Montreal, Quebec, 72 years old. Following his death, the International Animated Film Association - Canada established an annual award in McLaren's honor and in 1989, the Film Board renamed its main building the Norman McLaren Building. In 1991 the Film Board issued a video collection of McLaren's 40-year body of work under its auspices in recognition of its 50th anniversary.