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William Ian DeWitt Hutt, CC, OOnt, MM (May 2, 1920 – June 27, 2007) was a Canadian actor of stage, television and film. Hutt's distinguished career spanned over fifty years and won him many accolades and awards. While his base throughout his career remained at the Stratford Festival in Stratford, Ontario, he appeared on the stage in London, New York and across Canada.[1]

William Hutt

William Hutt.jpg
Born
William Ian DeWitt Hutt

(1920-05-02)May 2, 1920
DiedJune 27, 2007(2007-06-27) (aged 87)
OccupationActor

Early lifeEdit

Hutt was born in Toronto, Ontario, the second of three children. A graduate of Toronto's Vaughan Road Collegiate Institute (now Vaughan Road Academy), he served five years as a medic during World War II, receiving a Military Medal for "bravery in the field". After the war, he received his BA in 1948 from Trinity College at the University of Toronto, and subsequently joined the Stratford Festival of Canada for its first season in 1953.

About his early life, theatre director Richard Nielsen said, "As a young man, he was openly gay at a time when being openly gay was a very dangerous identity. He shunned violence, but he volunteered as a medic in the Second World War, and he later won the Military Medal for his services; and this I found most fascinating: he committed to a career in theatre when such a thing as the 'Canadian theatre' simply did not exist."[2]

Acting careerEdit

Hutt's acting career was centered around the Stratford Festival where he won acclaim in many roles including those of King Lear (1988), James Tyrone in Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey into Night (1994–1995) (a production which was subsequently filmed), and Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest (1975–1979). He played such Shakespearean roles as Hamlet, Lear, Falstaff, Prospero, Macbeth and Titus Andronicus.[3][4]. He was Artistic Director of the Grand Theatre in London, Ontario from 1976 to 1980, and also performed at the Shaw Festival, Citadel Theatre, Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, Vancouver Playhouse, National Arts Centre, Chichester Festival, and Bristol Old Vic.[5]

He appeared in film and on television in such roles as Le Moyne in the 2003 film The Statement and Sir John A. Macdonald in the Canadian television production of The National Dream, as well as in Timothy Findley's The Wars.[citation needed]

AwardsEdit

 
Hutt's star on Canada's Walk of Fame

In 1969 he was made a Companion of the Order of Canada[6] and in 1992 he was awarded the Order of Ontario. He also received an Honorary Doctor of Letters degree from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario in October 1997, and in 2000 was inducted into Canada's Walk of Fame. Hutt was a recipient of a Governor General's Performing Arts Award in 1992. He was awarded the 1996 Sam Wanamaker Prize. One of the very few people in North America to have appeared on a postage stamp while still alive, he appeared on a stamp that celebrated the Stratford Festival's anniversary and showed him in character as Prospero.

In 2000, a bridge on Waterloo Street North that crosses the Avon River in downtown Stratford, ON, was named the "William Hutt Bridge" in his honour. The bridge lies a few metres away from the house in which Hutt had lived for many years.

Later life and deathEdit

Hutt retired from the Stratford stage in 2005 with his most renowned role in a reprise of Prospero in The Tempest .[7] He appeared in the television series Slings and Arrows as an ailing stage icon who wants to play King Lear one last time. He had planned to return to Stratford in 2007 in a production of A Delicate Balance, but had to cancel due to poor health.[8][9]

Hutt was diagnosed with leukemia, and died peacefully in his sleep on June 27, 2007 in Stratford, Ontario.[7][10]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Canadian Theatre Encyclopedia. Hutt, William. Athabasca University. Retrieved on: May 14, 2008.
  2. ^ "CBC-TV: Life and Times - William Hutt". CBC News. Archived from the original on May 25, 2007.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-08-26. Retrieved 2006-07-12.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "William Hutt acting & directing credits". Stratford Festival Archives. Retrieved 2019-06-27.
  5. ^ Garebian, Keith (1995). William Hutt: Masks and Faces. Oakville, Ontario: Mosaic Press. ISBN 0-88962-583-2.
  6. ^ Order of Canada citation
  7. ^ a b CBC Arts (June 27, 2007). Canada's great classical actor William Hutt dies at 87.
  8. ^ "The Tao of Bill". CBC News. Archived from the original on December 21, 2007.
  9. ^ "William Hutt withdraws from role in 2007 Season" (PDF). Stratford Festival. March 26, 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 16, 2008.
  10. ^ "June 27, 2007: As It Happens". CBC Radio. Archived from the original on January 20, 2008.

External linksEdit