Bruno Santos Gerussi (7 May 1928[1] – 21 November 1995)[2] was a Canadian stage and television actor, best known for the lead role in the CBC Television series The Beachcombers. He also performed onstage at the Stratford Festival, worked in radio, and hosted CBC's daily television cooking show Celebrity Cooks in the late 1970s.

Bruno Santos Gerussi
Born(1928-05-07)7 May 1928
Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada
Died21 November 1995(1995-11-21) (aged 67)
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Years active1953–1995

Early life and education edit

Gerussi was born in Medicine Hat, Alberta, as the eldest son of Enrico Gerussi, a coal miner working in Lethbridge, who had trained in Italy as a stonemason, and his wife Teresina Lazzorotto. The two married in 1927 and moved to Medicine Hat. The family subsequently moved to Exshaw, where Enrico worked as a sectionman on the Canadian Pacific Railway.

Bruno Gerussi grew up in Exshaw and later moved with his family to New Westminster, British Columbia. He attended the Banff School of Fine Arts on a scholarship.[3] Bruno was just 22 when his father committed suicide by hanging himself in the woods behind the provincial mental hospital at Essondale.[4]

Early career edit

In 1954, Gerussi joined the Stratford Festival in its second season.[5][6] During the next few years he went on to act in many stage productions in Canada and the United States, including performing the role of Romeo in the Stratford Festival's first production of Romeo and Juliet in 1960.[7][8]

Gerussi joined CBC radio, and later appeared on television. One of his earliest TV appearances was as Feste on 8 April 1964 on a CBC-TV production of Twelfth Night. In 1967 and 1968 he hosted a nationally broadcast mid-morning CBC radio show, Gerussi, Words and Music.[9]

The Beachcombers years edit

Gerussi's best-known role arrived in 1972, when he was signed to play Nick Adonidas in The Beachcombers, a comedy-adventure-drama created by Marc and Susan Strange and set on the west coast of Canada.[10] The Beachcombers ran for 387 episodes between 1972 and 1990 and remains Canada's longest-running weekly dramatic series.[3]

During part of his time with The Beachcombers, Gerussi hosted the CBC cooking program Celebrity Cooks in the late 1970s and most of the 1980s.[11] The series filmed for 12 seasons, with a Monday-to-Friday time slot for most of those years and Gerussi hosted 478 episodes before the show's last season in production, 1987. The Celebrity Cooks episode featured the last public appearance of actor Bob Crane of Hogan's Heroes fame, who was murdered soon afterwards. The taping of Crane's episode was dramatized in the 2002 film Auto Focus, in which actor John Kapelos portrayed Gerussi.

Gerussi's appearances in Celebrity Cooks led him to become commercial spokesperson for a line of microwave ovens in the late-1970s/early-1980s. He appeared in commercials for a variety of food products.

He was the host of the first Genie Awards broadcast in 1980.

After The Beachcombers edit

On 21 November 1995, Bruno Gerussi died of a heart attack in Vancouver at the home of his companion, Judge Nancy Morrison.[12]

The TV movie The New Beachcombers (2002), was dedicated in his memory. A new series was broadcast from 2002 to 2004.[13]

Awards and recognition edit

Gerussi received a Gemini Award nomination for Best Performance by a Lead Actor in a Continuing Dramatic Role in 1990 for the final season of The Beachcombers.

He won the Geminis' Earle Grey Award posthumously for lifetime achievement in 1996. His children Rico and Tina accepted it on his behalf.

Personal life edit

Both of Gerussi's children went on to work in film and television. His daughter, Tina Gerussi, is a casting director.[14] His son, Rico Gerussi, is an assistant director as well as a lead guitarist/vocalist in R&B band The Raging Butanes in Toronto.[15]

Filmography edit

References edit

  1. ^ Davis, Chuck. "The History of Metropolitan Vancouver / "1928"". Retrieved 28 December 2017.
  2. ^ "Gibsons launches Beachcomber's celebrations". Vancouver Sun. 27 July 2007. Archived from the original on 24 July 2012. Retrieved 28 December 2017.
  3. ^ a b Hume, Stephen (18 March 2017). "Canada 150: Bruno Gerussi was noted Shakespearean actor before becoming a Beachcomber". Vancouver Sun. Retrieved 19 January 2021.
  4. ^ Province of British Columbia, Death Record, Reg. No. 1950-09-009139
  5. ^ Martin Hunter (1 October 2001). Romancing the Bard: Stratford at Fifty. Dundurn. p. 236. ISBN 978-1-4597-2077-0.
  6. ^ "Stratford Festival Archives | Details".
  7. ^ Sherrill Grace; Jerry Wasserman (2006). Theatre and Autobiography: Writing and Performing Lives in Theory and Practice. Talon Books. pp. 235–236. ISBN 978-0-88922-540-4.
  8. ^ "The New York Times Theater Reviews". The New York Times. 1960. pp. 43, 91.
  9. ^ "Popular media personality loved horse racing, alter ego". Tom Hawthorn, The Globe and Mail, 29 November 2011
  10. ^ The Museum of Broadcast Communication[permanent dead link]
  11. ^ David Makin (5 October 2015). Reantasy, Montreal: The Book to Read, the Place to Be. AuthorHouse. p. 72. ISBN 978-1-5049-5071-8.
  12. ^ Slotek, Jim (22 November 1995). "Top Beachcomber dies at 67". Toronto Sun. Archived from the original on 15 January 2013. Retrieved 26 January 2010.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  13. ^ Vanessa Colantonio (4 November 2013). "BRUNO AND THE BEACH: THE BEACHCOMBERS AT 40". The British Columbia Quarterly. Retrieved 20 February 2019. The original series ended in 1990; a sequel, The New Beachcombers, starring among others Graham Greene and Dave Thomas, ran from 2002 to 2004 before being cancelled.
  14. ^ "Tina Gerussi". Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Retrieved 28 September 2019.
  15. ^ "Rico Gerussi". Directors Guild of Canada. Retrieved 28 September 2019.

External links edit