Just got to know about this a couple of minutes ago via Twitter. Comedian & actor Roger Abott passed away last night as confirmed by his close friend and fellow Air Farce member Don Ferguson. Ferguson said Abbott, 64, died Saturday night at Toronto General Hospital, 14 years after being diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
He kept the progressive disease secret from all but a few close friends and family until a week ago, Ferguson said. Born in England, Abbott’s family migrated to Canada when he was a baby and he was raised in Toronto.
Abbott was a founding member of the Royal Canadian Air Farce comedy troupe which started on radio in 1973 before branching to tv spots in the 80s and becoming a regular series in the 90s. His many roles on the show included his well-known parodies of Jean Chrétien, The Queen Mother, Yasser Arafat, George W. Bush and CBC news anchor Peter Mansbridge. Although the series ended in 2008 on New Year’s day, the cast has has some reunions since then.
I’ll always remember Air Farce and the comedic interludes that I enjoyed for a few years that I watched the show on Zee English. During those years, I used to watch the show around the midnight time slot that the cable channel used to air it and enjoyed the various skits. I’ll never forget Abbott’s parody of Arafat as a spokesman for a shaving razor company (‘Don’t say no sir, say Yasser’, which I found hilarious.