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Gordon Pinsent to receive Stratford Festival’s Legacy Award

The Stratford Festival has announce that Gordon Pinsent is the 2016 recipient of the Stratford Festival’s Legacy Award. Mr. Pinsent was a member of the company in the 1960s, early in his stage career, and returned in the mid-’70s as a leading player.

Mr. Pinsent first joined the Festival company in 1962, appearing in Macbeth, The Taming of the Shrew, The Tempest and Cyrano de Bergerac.

“Stratford has given generations of the most promising talents a chance to meet, grow and create new work and relationships,” said Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino in a release issued by the Festival.

“Gordon was inspired by those he watched and worked with at the Festival and he in turn has been an enormous inspiration to so many of us in the cultural community in Canada.”

Mr. Pinsent, born in Grand Falls, NL, worked in radio drama before being taken under the wing of John Hirsch at the Manitoba Theatre Centre and later at CBC-TV.

Gordon Pinsent Manitoba Theatre Centre. 1973stratford festival legacy award 2016

Gordon Pinsent
Manitoba Theatre Centre 1973

Mr. Pinsent amassed a number of TV roles, beginning with a lead in The Forest Rangers, the first series shot in colour in Canada. He left the series in 1965, to star in the quintessentially Canadian series Quentin Durgens, M.P., one of the earliest hour-long dramas to run on CBC.

Gordon Pinsent stars in Quentin Maverick MP. 1966 (CBC) stratford festival legacy award 2016

Gordon Pinsent stars in Quentin Maverick MP
1966 (CBC)

His 1972 award-winning film, The Rowdyman, which he both wrote and starred in, was hailed for its insightful depiction of life in Newfoundland.

He was one of Canada’s biggest stars by the time he returned to Stratford in 1975 to play the lead in Brecht’s Trumpets and Drums in Robin Phillips’s first season as Artistic Director.

Trumpets and Drums, 1975  Gordon Pinsent as Captain William Plume and Jackie Burroughs as Victoria Balance/Ensign Wilful Photographer Robert C. Ragsdalestratford festival legacy award 2016

Gordon Pinsent and Jackie Burroughs
Trumpets and Drums, 1975
Photo Robert C. Ragsdale

Trumpets and Drums, 1975 Tom Kneebone as Sergeant Kite, William Hutt as Captain Brazen and Gordon Pinsent as Captain William Plume Photographer Robert C. Ragsdale, stratford festival legacy award 2016

Tom Kneebone, William Hutt and Gordon Pinsent
Trumpets and Drums, 1975
Photo Robert C. Ragsdale

Denise Fergusson, Leslie Yeo, Gordon Pinsent, Richard Curnock and Nicholas Pennell
Photographer Robert C. Ragsdale, stratford festival legacy award 2016

Denise Fergusson, Leslie Yeo, Gordon Pinsent, Richard Curnock and Nicholas Pennell
Trumpets and Drums, 1975
Photo Robert C. Ragsdale

At the urging of Mr. Hirsch, he wrote and starred in the memorable CBC Christmas special A Gift to Last. The movie was spun into a TV series and soon it was adapted for stage, becoming a perennial Christmas favourite at theatres across the country.

Mr. Pinsent has almost 150 film and television credits, including such classic American shows as Hogan’s Heroes, It Takes a Thief and Marcus Welby, M.D., and such Canadian classics as The Beachcombers and Danger Bay.

Escape from Iran: The Canadian Caper - Pinsent as former Ambassador to Iran, Ken Taylor. 1984 (CTV), stratford festival legacy award 2016

Pinsent as former Ambassador to Iran, Ken Taylor
Escape from Iran: The Canadian Caper
1984 (CTV)

Children know him as the voice of King Babar on the animated series and film Babar, which he continues to make. Throughout the 1980s and ’90s he was a regular on such series as Street Legal, Wind at My Back, Power Play and The Red Green Show. In the mid ’90s he starred with Paul Gross in CTV’s Due South, the first Canadian-made TV series to win a prime slot on a major U.S. network, CBS. The show was also a hit in the U.K., one of only a few foreign series to air on BBC1.

shipping-news

Kevin Spacey, Gordon Pinsent
The Shipping News

His films include John and the Missus, which he wrote, directed and starred in, winning the Genie Award for Best Actor; The Shipping News, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by E. Annie Proulx, in which he starred alongside Kevin Spacey, Julianne Moore, Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett; and Sarah Polley’s acclaimed film Away from Her, in which he starred opposite Julie Christie, winning the 2006 Genie and ACTRA awards for Best Actor.

Alan Doyle and Gordon Pinsent in Republic of Doyle (2010),  stratford Festival Legacy award

Alan Doyle and Gordon Pinsent
Republic of Doyle (2010)

His most recent work includes The Grand Seduction, for which he won a Canadian Screen Award; Republic of Doyle, in which he played Maurice Becker; the role of Dr. Keaton in Sex After Kids; the elder Stephen Leacock in Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town; and the Archbishop in The Pillars of the Earth.

Mr. Pinsent is a Companion of the Order of Canada and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. He has received the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award, the Earle Grey Award for lifetime achievement in television, and a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame. He has honorary degrees from the University of Prince Edward Island, Ryerson University, Queen’s University, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Lakehead University and the University of Windsor.

Christopher Plummer to Present the Legacy Award

One of Mr. Pinsent’s colleagues at Startford was Christopher Plummer.

Christopher Plummer as Macbeth and Gordon Pinsent as Soldier stratford festival legacy award 2016

Christopher Plummer as Macbeth and Gordon Pinsent as Soldier,
Macbeth, 1962
Photo Peter Smith

It is Mr. Plummer who will present the Legacy Award to Mr. Pinsent on September 26 at Toronto’s Four Seasons Hotel. In 2011, the roles were reversed with Mr. Pinsent presenting Mr. Plummer with the Festival’s inaugural Legacy Award.

The Stratford Festival’s Legacy Gala will be hosted by Lloyd Robertson. The event is chaired by Barry Avrich, Robert Badun and Wendy Pitblado, and will be held at Toronto’s Four Seasons Hotel on Monday, September 26, at 6:30 p.m. A limited number of individual tickets, priced at $1,000, are still available by contacting Rachel Smith-Spencer at rsmithspencer@stratfordfestival.ca.

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