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If you would like to add a tribute to a deceased ACTRA Toronto member, please send text and a photo to Karen Woolridge. While we will make every effort to preserve the spirit of material submitted for posting, ACTRA Toronto reserves the right to edit or omit any material for length, style, content or legal reasons.
– by Rosie Shuster
Cayle Chernin was my best friend, my soul sister, and an honorary Shuster. We met as teenagers in the '60s in Eli Rill's acting class in Toronto. Together we had our consciousness raised by feminism and lowered by sex, drugs, and rock & roll.
In the mid-'70s in LA we shared a suite at the fabled Chateau Marmont Hotel. Cayle knew everyone from "Jack" on down the food chain.
With her mad people skills, she bonded easily. Indeed, she got along so famously with my dad, I was sure if my mom went first, Cayle would wind up my step-mom.
Time was elastic for Cayle. How did she pack so much in when she moved at such a leisurely pace? Cayle loved life and she loved art and she took exquisite delight in the blurred boundaries between them.
And she was full of surprises. She read to the blind. She helped smuggle hoards of Jews out of Syria. And then suddenly, she morphed into a blonde gentile actress named Lorraine Sinclair. Lorraine performed a killer one-woman show of Erica Jong's Fear of Flying in a hole-in-the-wall theatre inside a subway station.
A year ago, when it seemed my mom was dying, Cayle stuck by my terrified jet-lagged side in the ER all night long. When I was told there were absolutely no beds to be had upstairs, Cayle skilfully schmoozed the beleaguered night nurse, bonding with her over provincial budget cuts and over-worked nurses' schedules. Miraculously a bed appeared.
In June, 2010, Cayle was diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer. Refusing to feel sorry for herself, she kept working. Supported by her husband, actor Dwight McFee, Cayle did a play, a feature film sequel which she' helped to initiate, a voice-over and a TV show. Then, from her orchid-filled salon in Palliative Care, she taped a podcast, hosted an acting class, recorded a two-hour ACTRA interview and dubbed lines for Down The Road Again.
One grim night when the cancer was winning, I came home fried from visiting Cayle in the hospital and flipped on the tube. Eerily, in front of an island of groceries, I saw that beatific Cheshire grin. I lunged for the phone. "Cayle, are you in a commercial?" "Yes," she purred slyly. "Twas me - amidst the meat."
Arguably, Cayle had the best smile ever. A dentist's daughter, she was flossing right up to the end. Cayle, we shall miss who and what we were, when we were with you. Keep grinning down at us from that big bowl of stars.
Rosie Shuster wrote for Saturday Night Live. She is the daughter of comedian Frank Shuster of Wayne and Shuster fame.
– by Jim Calarco
"The curtain came down on the final act of the life and times of Bob Clout on Sunday, September 4, 2011. Produced by Donald and Helen Clout, Bob debuted in St. Catharine's on January 20, 1934. He leaves behind his leading lady Pat and in supporting roles his children, Mark, Barry and Kelly." (North Bay Nugget, 09/06/2011)
I first worked with Bob in 1973 in the Woody Allen play, Don't Drink the Water. Over the next 38 years we appeared together many times both in film and on stage and the one thing that remained constant was his love for performing and his unwavering insistence that I learn my "damn lines."
Bob was a true Renaissance man. He wrote, directed and acted but was also an accomplished athlete who excelled in baseball, canoe racing and basketball. His love of adventure took him from the Queen's garden party at Buckingham Palace to the jungles of Indonesia where he discovered that he really did not like snakes.
He once observed that the one good thing about getting parts at his age was that they tended to be roles that required him to sit down for most of his scenes.
Bob is also remembered for his wacky sense of humor. After leaving a film project, Bob insisted that we had to wait outside in the pouring rain for another ten minutes. When I asked why, he replied, "Because that's how much time I have left on the parking meter."
Bob Clout was and is a good friend to those of us who knew him. He will be missed and always remembered.
"This was a man!" Wm. Shakespeare
– by Colin Mochrie and Deb McGrath
In William Shakespeare's Timon of Athens, the title character is described thusly: "Every man has his fault and honesty is his." The author could just have easily written these words about the actor who portrayed Timon, hundreds of years later, in one of the finest performances ever seen at the Stratford Festival. The truth that
Peter Donaldson shared in every performance of every character he portrayed was no different than the truth he lived every day of his life.
Pete was an actor's actor, loved by his colleagues for his professionalism and his seemingly effortless talent. Pete set the bar for everyone he worked with. He thrilled, scared, and inspired audiences. He held dear the craft but never the trappings.
Pete was a golfer's golfer. He had a powerful and beautiful stroke, the envy of anyone who had the pleasure to play with him. He held dear the game but not the trappings of the golf world.
Pete was a man's man. Comfortable whether sailing a boat, building a deck, tinkering in the garage or just sitting back with a drink and telling stories, naughty and nice.
Pete was a passionate family man. And in this passion he was happily caught in the trappings. He adored his girls: wife Sheila McCarthy, daughters Mackenzie Grace and Drew Donaldson. Watching Pete love his girls sometimes made your heart skip a beat, the love was so quietly intense.
There should be a new phrase: a friend's friend. Pete was always there for those in his circle. He would help you when you were down, ground you when your head was too big and fill your heart with pride when you needed it.
We did not know Pete terribly long, but we will keep him close with a lifetime of missing him.
– by Dani Holden, written for a funeral for Ted Loviscek held April 27, 2012.
My name is Danielle and I'm Ted's friend.
I'm angry at the fates that brought us all together today for this gathering.
Ted should be with us now, and with family and friends here it could be a comedic celebratory "roast" for him like the shows on television where comics poke fun and jabs at the "roastee." One problem with that scenario is that it would tax us all to the max as how could we say one bad thing about him even in jest taken to the extreme?
Ted was one of the very best people I've ever known. Period. He had the disposition of someone not of this world and he made lemonade out of lemons constantly.
Ted dealt with one serious health problem after another. He had diabetes and had undergone heart surgeries, adrenal gland surgery and other surgeries that dealt with complications from these issues. He was like a prize fighter - bring it on, let's see what else has to be dealt with.
Doctors' appointments almost filled his days. Capricious fun and trivial pursuits, that included researching and writing about bizarre factoids, brought levity and often hysterical shared silliness to his other precious time slots.
Ted had serious writing and performing talents and was often asked to help others with their creative endeavours. He had the most wonderful and wonky sense of humour. I met him at "Yuk Yuk's" at their now long-closed 1280 Bay Street location in 1980. He was performing "stand up" comedy.
I was working there making cappuccinos, waiting tables, and on weekends my duties included crowd control, ensuring that there were enough chairs to squeeze in as many people as possible at each table without the fire department being alerted.
I had just moved from Montreal to Toronto to pursue my acting dream. I tried "stand up" as well and I quickly sat down. Anyway, we've been pals ever since.
Ted was getting ready to start doing "stand up" again and was slated to perform at a club just about now. Ted was outreaching socially by joining many "Meetup" groups. "Meetups" are organized by categories to bring people together who share common interests. There are tons of them throughout Canada and the United States. I never knew they existed before Ted filled me in on them. Ted convinced me not long ago to go to a trivia contest evening at a pub through a "Meetup" group. He thought we'd do well between our combined vast knowledge of all things trivial.
It turned out to be a British trivia night. British sports, music and TV shows that were never aired this side of the Atlantic were the main topics. We were totally lost at sea but of course we had a great time anyway and we met some fun and also clueless people who shared our table.
While Ted was in Sunnybrook Hospital this last time, after being hit by a car while crossing on a green light at Bathurst and Roselawn (he had suffered a fractured knee not requiring surgery and four stitches to sew up a cut on his chin), we were on the phone and I told him he had the most amazing attitude with how he dealt with one huge difficulty after another. Just as he was starting to feel better recently health-wise, this happened.
I asked him how he managed to keep positive and he said he looks at it as an adventure, something to write about. The result of this adventure was more than extreme but he can now share it with his parents, his sister Annie and his beloved Darlene. He died in hospital Thursday April 19. I keep thinking he'll call. Ted shared with me a limitless and priceless gift. His friendship. You kiddo, were so loved.
December 14, 1930 – June 11, 2012
Canadian actor. Died peacefully at Toronto East General Hospital of pancreatic cancer. This Winnipeg girl started her career in 1954 with Bernie Slade’s summer stock theatre and went on to a two-hander on CBC-TV with William Shatner, four plays at the Crest Theatre, a starring role in the National Film Board’s ground-breaking original drama, Crossroads (1957) and many other productions – including the cult TV series Strange Paradise – that can still be seen on one medium or another. For more than 30 years, Pat was also Canada’s top female commercial announcer.
Thanks to all the kind and loving souls who made Pat’s journey a pleasure – the pleasure it should be: her sister Mary (Happy) Tulk of Toronto, brother-in-law Bert Tulk (deceased) and brother James Moffatt (Beryl) of Winnipeg and five wonderful nephews and their families.
Pat left us all a note: “Early in my crazy toboggan ride of life I had the good luck to meet a most beautiful and talented woman, D. J. Hamilton, who appreciated my love for her for 50 years. Together we chose a family of friends and fuzzies that made life a joy. Thanks all, and raise a glass in appreciation.” Thanks to the TEGH and the palliative care unit and staff, headed by Dr. Kevin Workentin. Their caring support softened the cruelty of cancer.
A donation to the Actors’ Fund of Canada would be greatly appreciated (Actors’ Fund of Canada, 1000 Yonge St., Suite 301, Toronto, ON M4W 3K2).
– by Chris Potter
I've been feeling such a sadness whenever the thought of Wayne's passing returns to the front of the queue for 'the things I worry about'.
It was 1989 when we first met. I was 29 and trying to accumulate ACTRA qualifying credits. I landed a TV commercial that would move me one step closer to becoming a card carrying union pro. I think you needed 1000 credits back then... or maybe it was 6... it seemed like 1000.
When I arrived on the set the morning of the shoot, I began to talk and take pictures of everyone and thing. As was my custom at that stage of my 'career'. I approached each job with the same thorough process. As a set visit.
Sensing, perhaps that I was possibly 'newish to the biz', Wayne acknowledged me with a warm hello. I recognized him. Although I didn't know his name, I knew that face.
I tried to stay calm. But inside I was wanting to call people. He was a 'famous guy'. He introduced himself as Wayne. We made some 'actorly' conversation and he returned to his newspaper.
I studied him throughout the day, the way he worked. He knew all the 'film set lingo'. He had a calm cool style. An approachable nature. We spoke again. He surrendered the names of some shows he'd appeared in. I hadn't heard of any of them but that was okay because I could only get TV reception by putting my bare foot on the antenna input of my TV. By acting as a grounding source I could enjoy 3 channels. One channel was in Italian. I don't speak Italian but grew to enjoy the sound of it. Anyway none of this could side-track me from knowing he was famous.
Wow, such a pro, I thought. So 'famousy', so 'uniony'. I was so happy to have met him.
Many years later, at my first ACTRA gathering, 'famous guy' was the first to greet me and make me feel welcome. He also borrowed money but I had forgotten about that until now. (That was me kidding.)
Thank you so very much Wayne Robson, for having given us all that feeling of warmth and welcome that was so consistently your good nature over the many years we knew each other. And 1000 ACTRA credits for all of the laughs!
You will be fondly remembered.
July 30, 1918 – August 6, 2012
MORRIS SPECTOR (a.k.a. RUMMY BISHOP)
Morris Spector lovingly known by all as “Rummy Bishop.”
Over the last 30 odd years, Rummy and I dotted each other’s “I”s and crossed each other’s “T”s.
A look, not words, told each of us how to react to any given situation.
“We were simply as one.” People would constantly ask me, is he always this funny? My reply was, “Of course.”
In reality, Rummy was comfortable at home, with my straightforward approach, and in return complimented me, and kept me on an even keel, with his easy and gentle manner. We truly were salt and pepper to each other.
Rummy’s best days were when the call came in for an audition. This was his life’s blood. No matter how he felt, good or bad, he never wanted to miss an audition.
When Rummy was born, he didn’t cry, he laughed, and he continued to do so for a lifetime. Rummy was a consummate showman. More than anything he needed to entertain. This was his greatest love.
Rummy entertained on many levels - stage, TV, films, and voiceovers, but he always regarded himself first and foremost as a stand-up comedian. He was at his happiest performing his shtick to an adoring audience.
Rummy now joins his family in a “Higher Power,” and, of course, we know he will have them laughing in the aisles.
I will miss him terribly, but I take comfort in knowing he is now at peace.
“Goodnight Mr. Calabash wherever you are.”
The Spectors and Carole Tyson
Thank you ACTRA for all you did for Rummy.