5 Things About The Canadian Acting Legend Dead At 92 –

  • Gordon Pinsent was a prolific Canadian actor
  • He gained international recognition in 2006 for his work in Sarah Polley’s drama ‘Away From Her’
  • The star died in his sleep at the age of 92

Gordon Pinsent, one of Canada’s most famous actors, died at the age of 92 on Feb. 26, 2023. “Gordon Pinsent’s daughters, Leah and Beverly, and his son, Barry, would like to announce the passing of their father peacefully in sleep today with his family at his side,” read a note by Gordon’s son-in-law, Peter Keleghan, per Variety. “Gordon passionately loved this country and its people, purpose and culture to his last breath.”

Gordon Pinsent, one of Canada’s most famous actors, died at the age of 92 on Feb. 26, 2023. (Everett)

The prolific star’s career spanned more than 150 film and television projects over six decades, including the 2006 drama Away From Her by Oscar-nominated star Sarah Polley. Keep reading to learn more about the legendary actor, below.

Where was ‘Porky’ from?

Gordon, who was nicknamed “Porky” by his family, was born on July 12, 1930, in Grand Falls, Newfoundland, according to The Gobe & Mail. His father, Stephen Pinsent, was a paper mill worker-turned-cobbler who died when Gordon was only 10 years old.

After the untimely death, Gordon would work his way to Toronto and at the age of 18, he decided to serve in the Royal Canadian Regiment for three years. Landing in Winnipeg, he began his acting career by performing with “small, semi-amateur companies of the day and got some work doing radio drama at the CBC,” per the outlet.

In 1955, Gordon landed a part in a television drama for CBC Winnipeg, enjoyed the taste and soon moved to Toronto to see what else he could tackle. There, he began getting bigger and bigger roles for the CBC and was on his way to becoming a household name.

Gordon’s breakthrough

The actor’s big break came when he landed the titular role of the CBC television drama about an optimistic politician called Quentin Durgens, M.P. While the show only ran from 1965 to 1969, it made Gordon a national figure and treasure. He was so beloved as that character that “Canadians would approach him with requests to fix their local problems,” per the outlet.

He would then move to Hollywood for a period of six years, finding work with guest appearance on TV shows, but soon returned to Canada, where he became a huge sensation with big roles, his own writings and numerous accolades.

It was a fellow Canadian that ended up bringing Gordon international recognition. Making her directorial debut in 2006 with Away from Her, Sarah Polley cast him as a husband who must commit his Alzheimer’s-stricken wife to a nursing home. The movie earned two Oscar nominations and garnered a Best Actor Genie (the Canadian film awards) for Gordon.

He voiced Babar the Elephant

“He creates men of humour, men of dignity, men of strength and men of compassion,” his late wife, the actress Charmion King, once said of his work. “He doesn’t play arrogance. He doesn’t play stupidity. I think Canadians are like who he portrays. And even if they’re not, they see it and they want to be!”

With that same style of acting, Gordon tackled being the titular voice of Babar the Elephant in television and film from 1989 to 2015.

Gordon was married twice

Gordon was a national treasure in Canada. (Everett Collection)

At 21, Gordon married Irene Reid, the sister of a friend, but soon discovered he wasn’t ready to settle down, per The Globe & Mail. In the meantime, he and Irene had welcomed two children, Barry and Beverly. After their split, Gordon went on to marry actress Charmion King in 1962 and they were together until her death in 2007. During their union, they welcomed their daughter, Leah Pinsent, who is also an actress.

Gordon was estranged from two of his kids for years

When Gordon left for Toronto to chase his acting dreams, he also left his family of Irene, Barry and Beverly behind. According to his own account of his divorce in his 2012 autobiography Next, a judge “ruled he should never see the children, then aged five and three, so as to give Irene a fresh start,” per The Globe & Mail. He would not meet Barry and Beverly again until both were adults.

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