Pinsent in 2008
July 12, 1930|
Grand Falls, Newfoundland
|Occupation||Actor, director, screenwriter, playwright|
|Spouse(s)||Charmion King (1962–2007, her death)|
Gordon Edward Pinsent, CC, FRSC (born July 12, 1930) is a Canadian actor, screenwriter, director and playwright. He is known for his roles in numerous productions, including Away from Her, The Rowdyman, John and the Missus, A Gift to Last, Due South, The Red Green Show and Quentin Durgens, M.P. Since 1989, for nearly 30 years, he has served as the voice of Babar the elephant in television and film.
Pinsent, the youngest of six children, was born in Grand Falls, Newfoundland (present-day Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada). His mother, Florence "Flossie" (née Cooper), was originally from Clifton, Newfoundland, and his father, Stephen Arthur Pinsent, was a papermill worker and cobbler originally from Dildo, Newfoundland. His mother was "quiet spoken" and a religious Anglican; the family was descended from immigrants from Kent and Devon in England. He was a self-described "awkward child" who suffered from rickets.
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.
Pinsent's professional acting career began in 1957 at Winnipeg's Theatre 77 (later known as the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre) under the direction of John Hirsch. In the years that followed, he performed in many theatrical productions in Winnipeg, Toronto and at the Stratford Festival.
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.
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.
On March 8, 2007, it was publicly announced in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, that Pinsent had accepted the appointment of honorary chairman of the "Building for the Future" fundraising campaign for The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum.
During the 2008, 2010 and 2011 summer periods of CBC Radio One, Pinsent presented a radio documentary series called The Late Show featuring extended obituaries of notable Canadians whom the producers believed deserved attention.
Pinsent appeared in one of Canadian director Stephen Dunn's early short films titled Life Doesn't Frighten Me, which won various awards, including the CBC Short Film Face-Off, with a cash prize of $30,000. The film also won awards at the Toronto Student Film Festival and the Tribeca Film Festival in 2013.
He has written seven screenplays, including: The Rowdyman and John and the Missus.
His plays include Easy Down Easy (1987) and Brass Rubbings (1989).
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Pinsent married actress Charmion King in 1962, and they were married until her death on January 6, 2007 from emphysema; their daughter, Leah Pinsent, is an actress. Pinsent also has two children, Barry and Beverly Kennedy, from an earlier marriage to Irene Reid.
Pinsent is a Companion of The Order of Canada and a Fellow of The Royal Society of Canada.
In 1997, he won the Earle Grey Award for lifetime achievement in television.
Pinsent received an LL.D from the University of Prince Edward Island in 1975, and Honorary doctorates from Queen's University, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Lakehead University (2008) and the University of Windsor (2012).
It was on July 12, 2005, in his hometown of Grand Falls-Windsor, and in honour of his 75th birthday, that the Arts & Culture Centre was renamed The Gordon Pinsent Centre for the Arts.
On September 25, 2008 at a "Newfoundland and Labrador Inspired Evening" at The Windsor Arms Hotel in Toronto, the Company Theatre presented Mr. Pinsent with the inaugural Gordon Pinsent Award of Excellence.
His acting and writing awards include:
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