Here's the one I thought of the morning when I found out Ryan had died: It was on the Europe trip, a bunch of us were having drinks one night in that little lobby bar in the London hotel that was all purple velvet decor—soooo Bammy. Anyway, Dunn was holding court for a bit, talking about all his troubles a few years ago and how f'd up he was, and then how together and happy he was now. Showing us pictures of his new house, talking about how grateful he was for being out here, for Angie, and for everything in his life—just in a really good place. He was in a really good place this whole last movie, and he was just kinda reflecting with everybody for a minute and it was real humble and cool.
"I've accomplished everything I wanted out of life, like way beyond my wildest dreams. Anything from here on is just icing," talking like that. And then for real Dunn says, "Seriously, if you find out that I died tomorrow, I'm fine. Do not be sad for me, 'cause I'm not sad. I died with a smile on my face."
That night stuck with me, 'cause he was always such a genuine guy and you know he really meant everything he was saying—and man, you hope you can say that same thing one day and mean it like he meant it that night. So when I found out that morning, that was the first thing that came to my mind. I'm just glad he said that and glad I heard it and wanted ya'll to hear it too.
I love what Knate said about his conversation with Ryan in Europe. I had a similar night with him when we were all on the hotel roof down in San Diego after the Comic Con party. It was a perfect night: it was warm, we were all so happy to almost be done with the movie, the screening of the clips from the movie couldn't have gone better. Trip [Taylor] was talking about how crazy it is that we had been doing it for ten years and telling stories of the first season. I think a lot of us were feeling a little emotional because the movie was coming to an end, and Ryan was sitting there on a stool happy as a bear. He was talking about all the things he was working on and he talked a lot about Angie and how she had stuck with him through his dark years. When he spoke about her, he was so in awe that she was with him. I wish I could remember his exact wording, because he was always so damn funny with how he spoke, but in that great self-deprecating Ryan way he said something to the effect of "What is she doing with an ugly idiot like me?" He laughed and I could feel how much he loved her and how grateful he was that she was in his life. He had a real peace about him.
The other thing I think of when I think of Ryan is how big his heart is and how thoughtful he is. I think he helped give our group and everything we made a lot of its heart, too. When someone was hurt, he was always right there, seeing how he could help. Especially with Bam. You could feel how much love Ryan had for him.
(Bottom photo by Sean Cliver; Hollywood, California 2006)