People

Jonathan Crombie (1966–2015)

I am sorry to pass on the news that Jonathan Crombie, who played Gilbert Blythe in three Anne of Green Gables miniseries by Sullivan Entertainment, died on April 15 at the age of 48, according to a CBC News report posted earlier today.

My condolences to his family and friends during this difficult time.

UPDATE: Yesterday’s CBC News report that announced Crombie’s death has been updated several times to include more details about his death as well as several tributes to him, including from his sister Carrie Crombie, his Anne co-star Megan Follows, and producer/director Kevin Sullivan.

Don Harron (1924–2015)

It has been reported that Don Harron, co-creator of Anne of Green Gables: The Musical and author of Anne of Green Gables the Musical: 101 Things You Didn’t Know (2008), died on 17 January 2015 at the age of 90. For more on the life and accomplishments of this well-respected actor, writer, and director, see the obituary appearing on the CBC News website.

Death of Acclaimed Actor Peter Donaldson

Acclaimed actor Peter Donaldson, whose television roles included Reverend Leonard in Road to Avonlea and Ian Bowles in Emily of New Moon, died on 8 January 2011 at the age of 58. He is survived by his wife, actor Sheila McCarthy, and their two daughters. For more details, see articles in the Globe and Mail and Toronto Star.

Jackie Burroughs (1939–2010)

I’m very sorry to report that Jackie Burroughs, a renowned and acclaimed film, television, and theatre actor who is best known in the Montgomery community for playing Hetty King in the television series Road to Avonlea and Mrs. Amelia Evans in the 1985 miniseries version of Anne of Green Gables, died this afternoon at the age of 71. For more details on her life and her work, see tributes to her on the Globe and Mail and CBC websites.

Elizabeth Mawson Dead at 81

Elizabeth Mawson, who played Marilla Cuthbert in Anne of Green Gables: The Musical at the Confederation Centre for the Arts in Charlottetown between 1971 and 2003, died on Saturday in Toronto at the age of 81. Obituaries can be found at CBC.ca and at the websites for the Globe and Mail and the Charlottetown Guardian.

Elaine Campbell, Co-creator of Anne of Green Gables Musical, Dies

From CBC website:

Elaine Campbell, a co-creator of the longest running musical in Canadian history, Anne of Green Gables, died Friday in Charlottetown.

Campbell was one of the lyricists for the musical and part of the team—consisting of her husband, Norman Campbell, Don Harron, Mavor Moore and Alan Lund—that brought the internationally famous L.M. Montgomery book to Charlottetown’s Confederation Centre of the Arts in the 1960s. The show is now in its 43rd year.

Harron, the only surviving member of the creative team, said Elaine Campbell shaped the character of Anne.

“She brought a sensitivity. Norman and I were showoffs and Elaine was not. And she brought a real sense of the inner Anne,” he said. “She doesn’t get enough credit for what she did.”

Campbell, who was born in northern Ontario in 1925, spent her summers in Prince Edward Island and her winters in Toronto.

She wrote lyrics for three other musicals and contributed to specials for CBC Television, Rideau Hall and two Royal galas. She also established an endowment fund to the Confederation Centre in her husband’s name.

Her connection with Prince Edward Island, and the festival, was maintained for over 40 years.

“She’s never missed an opening that I know of in terms of the opening of the summer festival,” said Wayne Hambly, chair of the board of the Confederation Centre.

“Every year she comes down from Toronto to stay at their summer home. She brings to the centre a great level of excitement and a great level of pride in the accomplishments of the cast and crew.”

Campbell is best-known as a writer for the theatre and patron of the arts.

However, she also served with the Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War, spent time on the board of the National Ballet of Canada and was a Jane Austin scholar.

She was an avid traveller. Her final trip, in the last year of her life, was to Libya.

Campbell leaves five children and one grandchild. There will be a private celebration of her life held on P.E.I. A public event will take place later in Toronto.

Update on Martha MacIsaac

There is a one-page article about Martha MacIsaac in August’s issue of Famous (a magazine offered free at giant movie theatres across Canada). MacIsaac played the leading role in Emily of New Moon (1998-1999, 2002-2003) and now appears in the movie Superbad, which opens later this month. Thanks to Elizabeth MacLeod for bringing the article to our attention.

Doris Anderson (1921-2007)

Yuka writes:

Hello everyone,

I’m shocked to learn that Canadian feminist icon Doris Anderson passed away on the 2nd at St. Michael’s hospital in Toronto. She was an influential editor for Chatelaine magazine from 1957 to 77.

I met & talked with her only once at her house at Mollie Gillen’s 90th birthday party in 1998.

Mollie often told me that because Doris asked her to write an article on LMM, Mollie started to read LMM’s books and that eventually Mollie located the now famous bunch of letters written by LMM to Mr Macmillan in Scotland.

“When she (Anderson) took it (Chatelaine) over, it had a circulation of 480,000. Within a decade it was being read by 1.8 million women–‘One of every three in Canada’ as she claims.” (Rebel daughter’s anger simmers by Allan Fotheringham. The Calgary Sunday Sun, Sept. 29, 1996)

So, Mollie’s article on LMM appeared in such a popular magazine and received high praise from the readers. Based on the short article, Mollie developed a biography of LMM, The Wheel of Things which was published in 1975.

I saw Doris at the LMM conference in 94 and learned that Doris was a friend of Adrian Clarkson (former Governor General) who is a fan of LMM and made a brilliant speech at the conference. The speech is published in Gammel and Epperly’s L.M. Montgomery and Canadian Culture (1999).

If Doris didn’t pay attention to LMM in the 70s, Mollie would not have thought about writing the biography, let alone reading LMM’s books. I learned a life of LMM through “The wheel of things”.

To me, as an enthusiast of LMM, I would like to thank Doris Anderson sincerely.

Regards,
Yuka Kajihara