Canadian actor Gordon Pinsent has passed away at the age of 92


Gordon Pinsent, the Canadian actor whose career peaked in his 70s with an award-winning performance as a heartbroken husband in “Away From Her,” has died.

Pinsent died on Saturday evening at the age of 92, his friend actor Mark Crich confirmed.

The Newfoundland native, a household name in Canada for decades following his many appearances on stage and screen, became internationally known after his Genie Award-winning turn as Grant in the acclaimed directorial debut of Sarah Polley.

Her dignified portrayal so impressed Daniel Day-Lewis, who won a Best Actor Oscar in 2008 for “There Will Be Blood”, that he sent Polly an email praising Pinsent’s performance, calling her the most “amazing ” told. ever seen.

Such praise tickled the humble Pinsent. Well, in the last years of his life, the actor was mischievous, giggling and often giggling like a school boy whenever he was praised.

“Now you see, I don’t talk about myself that way, so I was happy — it was terrible,” Pinsent said with a laugh in an interview with The Canadian Press of Day-Lewis by email and He continued to rave about “Away From Her”, especially since it did not recognize the kind of international awards some critics said he deserved for the role.

Pinsent was “suave, classy elegant, well-spoken,” said Krich, a fellow Newfoundlander and family friend who says he became close with Pinsent after working together on a YouTube project. .

Actors in Canada “are walking a path that (Pincent) cuts through a forest,” Krich said in a phone interview.

“He never forgets anything. Like he’ll call you on Christmas, he’ll call you on your birthday, he’ll call you on Father’s Day, and we’ll have a FaceTime or call,” Krich said.

Also Read: Gordon Pinsent from Newfoundland because he was an even better friend than an actor.”

Born in Grand Falls, NL in 1930, Pinsent was the youngest of six children born to Stephen Pinsent, a papermill worker and cobbler, and his wife, Flossie.

The actor described himself as a strange child who once suffered from rickets. His schoolmates called him “Porky”.

But by age 17, the at first shy Pinsent had discovered acting, and was soon performing in stage productions in Newfoundland and then further afield in Winnipeg. With a deep baritone, Pinsent also landed roles in radio drama on the CBC, and soon moved on to film and television.

In the early 1950s, Pinsent took a break from acting and joined the Canadian Army, serving for about four years.

But acting remained his true love, and he became a stalwart on a few children’s shows in the early 1960s, including CBC’s “The Forest Rangers.” He appeared on dozens of well-known Canadian television shows, including “The Red Green Show,” “Due South,” “Wind at My Back” and Paul Gross’s “H20: The Last Prime Minister.”

Pinsent’s film resume was equally impressive. He wrote and starred in “The Rowdyman,” a Canadian classic about a troubled Newfoundlander whose best intentions go unnoticed by those close to him.

Pinsent also had memorable roles in “Who’s Seen the Wind” and “The Shipping News,” a major Hollywood production starring Kevin Spacey, Julianne Moore and Cate Blanchett. Pinsent played newspaperman Billy Pretty in the 2001 film, and also happily provided lessons on perfecting the Newfoundland accent for the rest of the cast.

In 2013 he starred in Don McKellar’s acclaimed Newfoundland-set comedy “The Grand Seduction”, which won him the Canadian Screen Award for Best Supporting Actor.

But it was “far from it,” a role that came to him at age 76, that really sealed his reputation as a “national institution,” as Polley once described him.

The actress and director said that from the moment she finished reading Alice Munro’s short story, “The Bear Came Over the Mountain,” she envisioned a film starring Pinsent as Grant, the estranged husband who returns to his 45-year marriage. loses his wife, not just to Alzheimer’s, but to another man. Pinsent was happy to oblige.

Pinsent said in a February 2007 interview, “He didn’t have much conviction to do.” Stuff that’s a little more challenging.

“Away from Her” was particularly poignant for him—his own wife of 45 years, actress Charmian King, had died just months before the film’s mainstream release, allowing Pinsent to revisit many themes of quiet despair. Forced to check. From him.”

An emotional Pinsent said during the interview, “It was something I didn’t necessarily understand how someone should feel after spending so many years with a partner at a certain point in life.” After the death of the king from emphysema.

“It’s almost impossible to understand… How do you prepare? Where does the love go? Where do you go, leftovers?

King and Pinsent had one child, actress Leah Pinsent. Pinsent also had two children from his first marriage, Barry and Beverly.

Leah Pinsent was very close to her father, attending several events following her mother’s death, and honored him in June 2007 when she was inducted into the Canadian Walk of Fame. She described her father as “a true inspiration and one of my best friends” at the event.

Pinsent, for his part, brought down the house with his joke about fellow Alberta rock band Nickelback.

“Nickelback! What can you say? I’ve got all their LPs and 45s!” he said as the crowd roared.

Pinsent’s sense of humor was, in fact, one of his most endearing qualities, and was in full force during the making of “Away From Her”.

At a pre-Genie brunch honoring the film in March 2008, Pinsent spoke about the hijackings involving his co-star, Julie Christie, an animal rights activist and environmentalist.

He came on set one day and told Christie that he had bought a Prius, the eco-friendly electric automobile favored by celebrities.

“She said: ‘Good for you, Gordon.’ And I told her how cool the car was, and how cute it was, and she agreed. And then I said: ‘Better to go sneaking on Baby Seal!’ And she wasn’t too happy about it.

But for all of the praise and accolades for Pinsent in the wake of “Away From Her,” film offers didn’t come after its release. He was passed over for a role in a film by Tom Cruise, and turned down a role in a film by Luke Wilson.

“I figure if I was out there pounding the pavement and working rooms, there might be more coming my way, but it’s not just me,” Pinsent said. “I don’t work in the room anymore. I tried it as a youth and I didn’t like it very much.”

After his role in the 1968 Steve McQueen film, “The Thomas Crown Affair”, and playing the US President in the Milos Forman film, “Colossus: The Forbin Project”, Pinsent and King spent six years attempting to launch Live in LA. His Hollywood Career.

“I did a lot of stuff, a few movies, four pilots that went nowhere, but I was brought down to play the president in ‘Colossus,’ a Forman project that became a cult thing for university students So I decided to stay there for a while, but it was because I started writing that I came back,” he recalled.

“I wanted to work where I wanted to live. You can spend three or four lives there, just waiting for something, waiting for good material to happen.

In fact, Pinsent wrote his novel “The Rowdyman” while living in Los Angeles, but wanted to film it in his beloved Newfoundland. Pinsents returned to Canada and stayed.

“I had a chance to sell it there but I didn’t. I wanted to do it on my home turf, and it cost very little – it was coffee money for most of the movies, and it was great to be at home.

Throughout his life, in fact, the actor remained devoted to his native province, visiting his brothers two or three times a year.

“I really need to go there,” said Pinsent. “I started writing from that place, from that point of view. But the family used to be huge; it’s smaller now, even though my nephews and nieces have half the island.

Pinsent’s lifelong passion for creating has never faded – in 2018 he released a short film he wrote and self-financed called “Martin Haig”, about a middle-aged writer dealing with a one-person version of anxiety and depression. was burdened with

“I really love writing … The writing is good, it’s even better than good when you hit those peaks, and strangely enough it feels like acting. It’s that lovely thing where You get that zone, that pinnacle of bliss, and it reminds you why you started it all.

-With files from Jessica Smith in Toronto

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