Gordon Edward Pinsent, CC, FRSC (born July 12, 1930) is an iconic and award-winningCanadian actor, screenwriter, director and playwright. In a successful and prolific career spanning over 60 years in theatre, radio, television and film, he is best known for his roles in Away from Her, The Rowdyman, John and the Missus, A Gift to Last, Due South, The Red Green Show and Quentin Durgens, M.P.
Pinsent, the youngest of six children, was born in Grand Falls, Newfoundland. 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 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 60's 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 have included Lydia, 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.
Most recently he had a guest starring role as Maurice Becker on the February 3, 2010 episode of Canadian television series Republic of Doyle. He was also a featured guest reader on Bookaboo.
He attained recent notoriety when a comedic segment of him reading dramatically from Justin Bieber's autobiography on This Hour Has 22 Minutes went viral on October 20, 2010.
His first memoir, By the Way, was published in 1992 by Stoddart Publishing. His second, Next (with George Anthony), was published in 2012 by McClelland and Stewart.
He has written seven screenplays, including: The Rowdyman and John and the Missus.
His plays include Easy Down Easy (1987) and Brass Rubbings (1989).
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 from an earlier marriage.
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).
Pinsent received a Governor General's Performing Arts Award in 2004, Canada's highest honour in the performing arts.
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.
Pinsent received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012.
His acting and writing awards include:
2014 - Canadian Screen Award - Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role for The Grand Seduction,
2013 - Canadian Screen Award - Best Performance in a Guest Role, Dramatic Series for Republic of Doyle,
2008 - Genie Award - Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role for Away from Her,
2007 - ACTRA Award - Outstanding Male Performance for Away from Her,
2004 - Banff Television Festival - Award of Excellence,
2003 - ACTRA Award - Award of Excellence,
1999 - Gemini Award - Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Dramatic Series for Power Play,
1999 - Gemini Award - Best Writing in a Dramatic Program or Mini-Series for Win, Again!,
1996 - Gemini Award - Best Performance by an Actor in a Guest Role in a Dramatic Series for Due South,
1989 - Gemini Award - Best Guest Performance in a Series by an Actor or Actress for Street Legal,
1987 - Genie Award - Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role for John and the Missus,
1980 - Genie Award - Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role for Klondike Fever,
1972 - Canadian Film Award - Best Performance by a Lead Actor for The Rowdyman,
1962-1964: Scarlett Hill,
1963-1965: The Forest Rangers,
1966-1969: Quentin Durgens, M.P.,
1969: Adventures in Rainbow Country,
1970: Hogan's Heroes (as Capt. Steiner) - s6e14,
1974: The Play's The Thing,
1978-1979: A Gift to Last,
1984: Seeing Things,
1989: Babar (as King Babar),
1991-2006: The Red Green Show,
1993 Street Legal,
1994-1999: Due South (as Sgt. Bob Fraser, recurring),
1996: Wind at My Back,
1998: Made in Canada,
1998-2000: Power Play,
2009: Corner Gas (as Corky Dillems) - s06e09,
2010-2012: Republic of Doyle (as Maurice Becker, recurring),
2010: Babar and the Adventures of Badou (as King Babar),
2013: Satisfaction (as Dr Faskin) - s01e04,
Television specials and movies:
1969: Quarantined (TV movie),
1972: Incident on a Dark Street,
1979: The Suicide's Wife,
1981: Escape from Iran: The Canadian Caper,
1982: The Life and Times of Edwin Alonzo Boyd,
1984: A Case of Libel,
1988: Two Men,
1993: Bonds of Love,
1993: In the Eyes of the Stranger,
1995: A Vow to Kill,
1996: A Holiday for Love,
1999: Win, Again!,
2000: Jewel On The Hill (narrator),
2001: Blind Terror,
2002: The New Beachcombers,
2003: Fallen Angel (TV movie),
2003: Hemingway vs Callaghan,
2004: H20: The Last Prime Minister,
2006: Yours, Al,
2010: The Pillars of the Earth,
2012: Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town,
1968: The Thomas Crown Affair,
1969: Colossus: The Forbin Project,
1972: The Rowdyman,
1974: The Heatwave Lasted Four Days,
1974: Newman's Law,
1974: Only God Knows,
1976: Blackwood (narrator),
1977: Who Has Seen the Wind,
1980: Klondike Fever,
1981: Silence of the North,
1987: John and the Missus,
1989: Babar: The Movie (voice),
1990: Blood Clan,
1997: Pale Saints,
1997: Pippi Longstocking (voice),
1999: The Old Man and the Sea (voice),
2001: The Shipping News,
2002: A Promise,
2003: Snow on the Skeleton Key,
2004: The Good Shepherd,
2004: Saint Ralph,
2006: Away from Her,
2006: The Sparky Book (voice),
2009: The Spine (voice),
2012: Flight of the Butterflies,
2013: The Grand Seduction,
2013: Sex After Kids,
2014: Danny (cameo)
Text from this biography licensed under creative commons license