John Dunsworth

John Francis Dunsworth (April 12, 1946 – October 16, 2017) was a Canadian actor, best known for playing the alcoholic trailer park supervisor Jim Lahey on the comedy series Trailer Park Boys, despite not drinking for the part.[1] He is also known for playing the mysterious reporter Dave Teagues on the supernatural drama series Haven, and for playing Officer McNabb in Shattered City: The Halifax Explosion, a CBC film about the 1917 Halifax Explosion. He had extensive experience in regional theater.

John Dunsworth
John Dunsworth.jpg
John Francis Dunsworth

(1946-04-12)April 12, 1946
DiedOctober 16, 2017(2017-10-16) (aged 71)
Years active1976–2017
Elizabeth Bates (m. 1974)
Children4, including Sarah and Molly

Life and careerEdit

Dunsworth was born in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia, the second of ten children of Frank and Frances Dunsworth.[2]


In 1988, Dunsworth starred in a video documentary short entitled, John Dunsworth: The Candidate,[3] which was written and directed by Neal Livingston. The film follows an underdog provincial candidate for the New Democratic Party in the riding of Halifax Bedford Basin[4] as he campaigns, based on Dunsworth's candidacy in the 1988 Nova Scotia general election.[2]

Halifax Bedford Basin, 1988 Nova Scotia general election[5]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
     Progressive Conservative Joel Matheson 6462 45.1
     Liberal Penny Larocque 4977 34.9
     New Democratic Party John Dunsworth 2746 19.3


Dunsworth studied acting at the University of Guelph, but dropped out in his fourth year.[2] He went on to act in numerous CBC radio dramas, and had starring roles in many stage productions at the Neptune Theatre in Halifax.[6] In 1970, Dunsworth leased an abandoned building on Halifax's waterfront, and converted it into a playhouse. Dubbing it the Pier One Theatre, it became the city's first and most successful alternative theater production house.[7] In the late 1980s, Dalhousie University hired Dunsworth to produce the university's Welcome Show for new students at the Rebecca Cohn Auditorium, in which he also occasionally had an unseen voice-over role. In 1987, Dunsworth founded Filmworks Casting where he worked as Halifax's most renowned casting director.[2] Dunsworth met director Mike Clattenburg in the mid-1990s when he tried out for a bit part in Clattenburg's film short, "One Last Shot". Dunsworth's small role gradually transformed into a leading part that earned him a Best Performance award from the Atlantic Film Festival. From there, he further developed the character into what would eventually become Jim Lahey in Trailer Park Boys.[8]

Dunsworth, John Paul Tremblay, and Robb Wells can be seen in the 2002 movie Virginia's Run starring Gabriel Byrne and Joanne Whalley. Dunsworth plays a local cop while Tremblay and Wells play active and verbal townsmen similar to their Trailer Park Boys characters. Actors are credited as cop for John Dunsworth, J.P. for John Paul Tremblay (credits as J.P. Tremblay), and Robb Wells as Rob. The movie was filmed in Nova Scotia, Canada.[9] Dunsworth starred in Haven, the television series adaptation of the Stephen King novel The Colorado Kid.[10]

In 2010, Dunsworth reunited with many of his former Trailer Park Boys castmates in the new series The Drunk and On Drugs Happy Fun Time Hour.[11]

Personal lifeEdit

Dunsworth lived in Nova Scotia with his wife, three daughters, and one son, John. His daughters Sarah and Molly are both actresses.[12][13][14]

Unlike the character he played on Trailer Park Boys, Dunsworth rarely drank alcohol; the 'alcohol' he drank in the show was usually iced tea.[15] He admitted suffering from a gambling problem in the past.[16] As a result of his recovery, he had been instrumental in trying to remove video lottery terminals from bars in Nova Scotia.[17]

Dunsworth once appeared on stage with Guns N' Roses in Halifax, as Axl Rose is a fan of Trailer Park Boys and Dunsworth's character in particular.[18] He was a boating enthusiast and frequently spent time on his yacht, Emerald Princess. He enjoyed building granite sculptures and structures with local stone and cement.[19]


Dunsworth died of an undisclosed illness on October 16, 2017 in Halifax, Nova Scotia,[20] at the age of 71.[21] In a statement, Dunsworth's daughter Sarah described the illness as "short and unexpected" and stated that her father was an "amazing husband, father and grandfather".[21]


Dunsworth had 70 titles for which he is credited as an actor.[22][23] Below is a selected filmography.




  • Dunsworth is credited in Dolores Claiborne as a part of the crew but did not appear in the film.


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c d Knox, Casten (September 2005), John Dunsworth: From Angry Young Man to Renaissance Man, archived from the original on June 24, 2007, retrieved December 9, 2008
  3. ^ Johnston, Ian (May 27, 1990), "John Dunsworth: The Candidate", The Daily News
  4. ^ "Province of Nova Scotia Election Returns 1988" (PDF). Retrieved 17 October 2017.
  5. ^ "1988 Nova Scotia General Election Results. p. 83" (PDF).
  6. ^ Lahey, Liam (2003), Tight Pants and Self Righteousness, archived from the original on 2007-10-09, retrieved December 9, 2008
  7. ^ Perkyns, R. (1985), "Two Decades of Neptune Theatre", Theatre Research in Canada, vol. 6 no. 2
  8. ^ Barsanti, Sam. "R.I.P. John Dunsworth, Trailer Park Boys and Haven actor".
  9. ^ "Full Tales from Beyond the Pale LIVE Lineup Announced - Dread Central".
  10. ^ "A Series of Sinister Soundbites - Dread Central".
  11. ^ "The Boys are back and on drugs". The Globe and Mail, July 12, 2010.
  12. ^ Trask, Nicole (September–October 2006), "Fight Club", Halifax Magazine, archived from the original on August 12, 2008
  13. ^ "Hobo with a Shotgun (Official Movie Site) - Starring Rutger Hauer, Gregory Smith, Molly Dunsworth, Brian Downey and Nick Bateman - Now on DVD, Blu-ray™, VOD, XBOX 360, Playstation™, Amazon and Vudu - Trailers, Pictures & More".
  14. ^ "Hobo with a Shotgun". 12 May 2011 – via
  15. ^ Capancioni, Marc (September 2008), "Liquored-up Mr. Lahey role initially gave actor bad case of the shivers", The Sault Star
  16. ^ CBC Arts (April 18, 2005), "'Trailer Park Boys' to tackle VLT addiction", CBC News, retrieved December 9, 2008
  17. ^ Hooked for Life. The Globe and Mail. March 23, 2009.
  18. ^ John appears on stage with Axl Rose on YouTube
  19. ^ Video of John's boat and stone projects on YouTube
  20. ^ "John Dunsworth Service Details". Ronald A. Walker Funeral Homes. Retrieved October 18, 2017.
  21. ^ a b CBC News (October 16, 2017), "'John Dunsworth, beloved actor best known as Mr. Lahey, has died'", CBC News, retrieved October 16, 2017
  22. ^ Remembering John Dunsworth – NorthernStars
  23. ^ "John Dunsworth". IMDb.

External linksEdit