Gordon Pinsent

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Gordon Pinsent
Gordon Pinsent TIFF08.jpg
Gordon Pinsent, 2008
Born (1930-07-12) July 12, 1930 (age 84)
Grand Falls, Newfoundland and Labrador (then Dominion of Newfoundland)
Years active 1962-present
Spouse(s) Charmion King (1962-2007 - her death)

Gordon Edward Pinsent, CC, FRSC (born July 12, 1930) is a Canadian television, theatre and film actor. He is best known for providing the voice of King Babar for Nelvana's production of the Babar story for TV and the movie adaption. He is also known for playing Hap Shaughnessy on The Red Green Show.

Early life[edit]

Pinsent, the youngest of six children, was born in Grand Falls, Newfoundland. His mother, Florence "Flossie" (née Cooper), was originally from Clifton, Newfoundland,[1] and his father, Stephen Arthur Pinsent, was a papermill worker and cobbler originally from Dildo, Newfoundland.[2] His mother was "quiet spoken" and a religious Anglican; the family was descended from immigrants from Kent and Devon in England.[3] He was a self-described "awkward child" who suffered from rickets.

Pinsent began acting on stage in the 1940s at the age of 17. He soon took on roles in radio drama on the CBC, and later moved into television and film as well. In the early 1950s, he took a break from acting and joined the Canadian Army, serving for approximately four years as a Private in The Royal Canadian Regiment.


During the early years of his career he appeared in Scarlett Hill but was best known for co-starring in the CBC children's series The Forest Rangers in the early 1960s. He has since become a staple of Canadian television with roles including the series Quentin Durgens, M.P., A Gift to Last (which he created), The Red Green Show, Due South, Wind at My Back and Power Play. The pilot episode of A Gift to Last was adapted for the stage by Walter Learning and Alden Nowlan and has become a perennial Canadian Christmas favourite in regional theatres across the country.

Pinsent's movie roles have included Lydia, The Rowdyman, Who Has Seen the Wind, John and the Missus, The Shipping News and Away from Her. He wrote the screenplays for The Rowdyman and John and the Missus. Perhaps his best known early film role was that of the President of the United States in the 1970 science fiction cult classic Colossus: The Forbin Project. He starred in a role called Horse Latitudes based upon Donald Crowhurst, now featured in Deep Water.

In 1979 he was made an officer of the Order of Canada and was promoted to Companion in 1998. In 2006, he was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.[4] On March 6, 2007, it was announced that Pinsent would receive a star on Canada's Walk of Fame.

On March 8, 2007, it was publicly announced in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, that Pinsent had accepted the appointment of honorary chairman of the "Building for the Future"[5] fundraising campaign for The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum.[6]

During the 2008, 2010 and 2011 summer periods of CBC Radio One, Pinsent presented a radio documentary series called The Late Show featuring extended obituaries of notable Canadians whom the producers believed deserved attention.

Most recently he had a guest starring role as Maurice Becker on the February 3, 2010 episode of Canadian television series Republic of Doyle. He was also a featured guest reader on Bookaboo.

He attained recent notoriety when a comedic segment of him reading dramatically from Justin Bieber's autobiography on This Hour Has 22 Minutes went viral on October 20, 2010.

Personal life[edit]

Pinsent married actress Charmion King in 1962, and they were married until her death on January 6, 2007 from emphysema; their daughter, Leah Pinsent, is an actress. Pinsent also has two children from an earlier marriage.

His autobiography, By the Way, was published in 1992. He has also written a number of stage plays and television screenplays. In 1997 he won the Earl Grey Award.


Pinsent is a Companion of The Order of Canada and a Fellow of The Royal Society of Canada.

Pinsent received an LL.D from the University of Prince Edward Island in 1975, and Honorary doctorates from Queen's University, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Lakehead University (2008) and the University of Windsor (2012).

Pinsent received a Governor General's Performing Arts Award in 2004, Canada's highest honour in the performing arts.[7]

It was on July 12, 2005, in his hometown of Grand Falls-Windsor, and in honour of his 75th birthday, that the Arts & Culture Centre was renamed The Gordon Pinsent Centre for the Arts.

On September 25, 2008 at a “Newfoundland and Labrador Inspired Evening” at The Windsor Arms Hotel in Toronto, the Company Theatre presented Mr. Pinsent with the inaugural Gordon Pinsent Award of Excellence.

Pinsent received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012.[8]


Television series[edit]

Television specials and movies[edit]




  1. ^ http://ngb.chebucto.org/ Marriage Records
  2. ^ Gordon Pinsent is Hap Shaughnessy
  3. ^ Literary Encyclopedia: Gordon Pinsent
  4. ^ Royal Society of Canada (RSC)
  5. ^ The RCR Museum Capital Campaign
  6. ^ The RCR Museum
  7. ^ "Governor General's Performing Arts Awards - Recipients". Governor General's Performing Arts Awards Foundation. Retrieved 6 December 2012. 
  8. ^ "Diamond Jubilee Gala toasts exceptional Canadians". CBC. 18 June 2012. Retrieved 19 June 2012. 
  9. ^ Wilner, Norman (12 June 2009). "Spine-tingling short". Now. Retrieved 12 March 2011. 
  10. ^ "Gordon Pinsent". https://musicbrainz.org. Musicbrainz Foundation. Retrieved 14 February 2015. 

External links[edit]