Martha Burns

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Martha Burns
Born 1958 (age 57–58)
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Occupation Actress
Years active 1983 - Present
Spouse(s) Paul Gross (1988 - present)
2 children

Martha Burns is a Canadian actress known for her stage work and youth outreach in Ontario and her leading role as Ellen Fanshaw in the TV dramedy series Slings and Arrows.

Burns was born 1958[1] in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She was nominated three times for a Gemini Award for her performance as Shakespearean diva Ellen Fanshaw in Slings and Arrows, and won twice: in 2006 and 2007. She has also won the Genie Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role twice, for Long Day's Journey into Night in 1996 and for Love and Savagery in 2010.[2]

Burns is a founding member and a former associate director of Toronto's Soulpepper Theatre Company, a company that includes a number of theatre veterans from the Canadian Stratford Shakespeare Festival. She has also performed leading roles at Stratford, the Shaw Festival, the National Arts Centre and the Tarragon Theatre, to name just a few. She was nominated five times for a Dora Mavor Moore Award and won twice: in 1986 for The Miracle Worker and in 1984 for Trafford Tanzi.

As associate artistic director at Soulpepper, Burns headed up its extensive youth outreach program. Earlier in her career, she founded the Toronto Arts for Youth Association and was a co-founder of another youth theatre project in Toronto, Masterclass Theatre. She has also worked as an instructor for the theatre programs at George Brown College and Ryerson University. In 2005 she was honoured for her career in the theatre with the Barbara Hamilton Award.[3]

Burns lives in Toronto with her husband, director and actor Paul Gross, and their two children, Hannah and Jack.

Her recent show is called The Foundation which airs on Showcase in Canada. Her character is named Selena Selkirk. She also appeared in the Canadian television sitcom Michael, Tuesdays and Thursdays, on CBC Television in fall 2011.[4]


Year Title Role Notes
1992 Passage of the Heart Kate Ward
1994 Paint Cans Melda
1995 Never Talk to Strangers Maura
1996 Long Day's Journey into Night Cathleen
1999 Life Before This, TheThe Life Before This Gwen Maclean
2000 Hindsight Trina Short film
2004 Siblings Miss Bradford
2004 Porcelain Pussy, TheThe Porcelain Pussy Short film
2006 Screening Helen Thompson Short film
2007 Silk Mme. Joncour
2008 Rewind Heather Beckett Short film
2008 Blindness Woman with Insomnia
2009 You Might as Well Live Dr. Elizabeth
2009 Love and Savagery Mother Superior
2009 Wake, AA Wake Sabina
2010 The Reception Debra Short film
2011 French Immersion Cathy
2012 Fury Gretchen Post-production
Year Title Role Notes
1983 Backstretch Kelly TV series
1987 Street Legal Margaret Episode: "Take My Jokes, Please"
1989 Private Capital, TheThe Private Capital TV movie
1990 Last Best Year, TheThe Last Best Year Sally TV movie
1991 E.N.G. Joanna Miles Episode: "Tyger, Tyger"
1991 Hidden Room, TheThe Hidden Room Jane's Mother Episode: "A Friend in Need"
1996 Side Effects Andrea Burrows Episode: "Sex, Death and Rock 'N Roll"
1996 Traders Rita Hutchison Episode: "Two Steps Forward"
1996 Boys Next Door, TheThe Boys Next Door TV movie
1996 Great Performances Cathleen Episode: "Long Day's Journey Into Night"
1997 Marie Curie: More Than Meets the Eye Lisette Boudreau TV movie
1997 Due South Nadia Episode: "Spy vs. Spy"
1998 Witness to Yesterday Amelia Earhart Episode: "Amelia Earhart"
1998 Thanks of a Grateful Nation Dr. Rosemary Dove TV movie
1998 Traces of Insanity TV movie
1999 Justice TV movie
1999 Storm of the Century Counselor TV miniseries
1999 Due South Caroline Fraser Episode: "Call of the Wild: Part 2"
1999 Emily of New Moon Eve Kinch Episode: "Under the Wishing Moon: Part 1"
Episode: "Bridge of Dreams: Part 2"
1999 Murder Most Likely Alice Malinson TV movie
2000 Harry's Case TV movie
2003 Profoundly Normal Dr. Maswell TV movie
2003-2006 Slings and Arrows Ellen Fanshaw 18 episodes
2004 Skulls III, TheThe Skulls III Swim Coach Video
2004 What Katy Did Aunt Izzie TV movie
2006 I Am an Apartment Building Mother TV short
2008 Trojan Horse, TheThe Trojan Horse Mary Miller Episode: "Part One"
2009 Murdoch Mysteries Mrs. Burgess Episode: "Convalescence"
2009 Foundation, TheThe Foundation Selena Selkirk 3 episodes
2010 Hot Water Woman Video short
2011 Republic of Doyle Joyce Episode: "Something Old, Someone Blue"
2011 Michael: Tuesdays and Thursdays Jasmina Hart Episode: "Small Talk"
2014 Remedy Rebecca Baker Recurring character


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