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Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Actor and Festival alumni Douglas Campbell passes away

Actor Douglas Campbell (left, as Falstaff in 2001) has passed away at age 87. Mr. Campbell was a founding member of the Stratford Festival company, and contributed greatly to establishing professional theatre in this country.

The Stratford Shakespeare Festival issued a press release expressing their sadness, with this note from fellow thespian Christopher Plummer:

“Douglas, that proud and warlike Campbell who fought so valiantly in defense of theatrical integrity, is gone. And with his passing, gone too is a great part of my youth when he showed me what discipline meant and gave me the moral support I needed so desperately. A rebellious fugitive from the venerable Glasgow Citizens Company, he was brought to this country by Tyrone Guthrie in the early fifties and like a true pioneer Douglas did more for the growing up of professional theatre in Canada coast to coast than almost anyone I can think of. As a lover of the night he always managed to outlast any overzealous drinking competitor that dared challenge his capacity. He had a gregarious soul and a great heart so it is no small wonder that he was the best Falstaff I have ever seen. Douglas sprang from those Babylon days when the stage was revered and respected and his own devotion to his art, which he carried with him to the end, shone like a beacon of hope to anyone eager and wise enough to follow in his path.”

(Below is an image of Mr. Campbell as King Lear (front) with Nicholas Pennel as Fool, in 1985.)

Further articles about Douglas Campbell's distinguished career on the stage can be viewed at CBC, Playbill and the Toronto Star.

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