RIP Gordon Pinsent

Canadian acting icon, writer, director, and singer Gordon Pinsent has died, his family said in a statement. He was 92. The Grand Falls, N.L., native had a storied acting career spanning dozens of films and TV projects over six decades, including Due South, The Red Green Show, Babar and the Adventures of Badou, and The Grand Seduction. Focusing on CBC programs alone, one could add The Forest Rangers, Quentin Durgens, M.P.; the original Street Legal and Republic of Doyle, among others. He was the voice of Babar the Elephant in television and film from 1989 to 2015.

Pinsent, the youngest of six children, was born in¬†Grand Falls,¬†Newfoundland¬†(present-day¬†Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada). Pinsent began acting on stage in the 1940s at the age of 17. He soon took on roles in radio drama on the¬†CBC, and later moved into television and film as well. In the early 1950s, he took a break from acting and joined the¬†Canadian Army, serving for approximately four years as a private in¬†The Royal Canadian Regiment. He joined the Stratford Festival¬†in 1962 with roles in¬†Macbeth,¬†The Taming of the Shrew,¬†The Tempest¬†and¬†Cyrano de Bergerac, and returned to Stratford in the mid-’70s as a leading player.

In the early 1960s he appeared in Scarlett Hill and The Forest Rangers. He has since become a staple of Canadian television with roles including the series Quentin Durgens, M.P., A Gift to Last (which he created), The Red Green Show, Due South, Wind at My Back and Power Play. The pilot episode of A Gift to Last was adapted for the stage by Walter Learning and Alden Nowlan and has become a perennial Canadian Christmas favourite in regional theatres across the country.

Pinsent’s movie roles include¬†The Rowdyman,¬†Who Has Seen the Wind,¬†John and the Missus,¬†The Shipping News¬†and¬†Away from Her. He wrote the screenplays for¬†The Rowdyman¬†and¬†John and the Missus. Perhaps his best known early film role was that of the President of the United States in the 1970 science fiction cult classic¬†Colossus: The Forbin Project. He starred in a role called¬†Horse Latitudes¬†based upon¬†Donald Crowhurst, now featured in¬†Deep Water. Pinsent had more than 150 TV and movie acting credits to his name, with his Internet Movie Database resum√© spanning from a 1957 TV movie to a cartoon voice in 2021.

In 1979 he was made an officer of the¬†Order of Canada¬†and was promoted to Companion in 1998. In 2006, he was made a Fellow of the¬†Royal Society of Canada. On March 6, 2007, it was announced that Pinsent would receive a star on¬†Canada’s Walk of Fame. He won the best actor Genie and ACTRA awards in 2006 for his work in Sarah Polley’s¬†Away From Her¬†and the Genie for best actor in¬†The Shipping News, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Annie Proulx. He also had a single guest appearance as Corky Dillems in the comedy series Corner Gas. Most recently he had a guest starring role as Maurice Becker on the February 3, 2010 episode of Canadian television series¬†Republic of Doyle and in an episode of Private Eyes.

Pinsent married actress¬†Charmion King¬†in 1962. They remained together until her death in 2007. Their daughter,¬†Leah Pinsent, is also an actress. Pinsent also has two children from a previous marriage. Pinsent is a Companion of The Order of Canada and a Fellow of The Royal Society of Canada. Pinsent received a¬†Governor General’s Performing Arts Award in 2004, Canada’s highest honour in the performing arts. Pinsent received the¬†Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal¬†in 2012.