Mary Walsh (actress)

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Mary Walsh

Mary Walsh in London, UK.jpg
Walsh in 2008
Mary Cynthia Walsh

(1952-05-13) May 13, 1952 (age 69)
OccupationActress, comedian, writer
Years active1986–present
AwardsCanadian Screen Award for Best Supporting Actress (2021)

Mary Cynthia Walsh CM[1] (born May 13, 1952) is a Canadian actress, comedian, and writer.[2] She is known for her work on CODCO and This Hour Has 22 Minutes.

Early life[edit]

Walsh was born in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, the daughter of Mary and Leo Walsh. Leo was a merchant marine turned firefighter on commercial vessels. She is the seventh of eight children, and is of Irish ancestry.[3] She is a past member of Girl Guides of Canada.[4]


Walsh studied theatre in Toronto at Ryerson University but dropped out to work with the CODCO comedy troupe on a series of stage shows, which eventually evolved into a sketch comedy series.[5] The CODCO series ran from 1988 to 1993 on CBC Television.

This Hour Has 22 Minutes[edit]

In 1992, she began to work with former co-star Rick Mercer and former CODCO co-stars Cathy Jones and Greg Thomey to create a new television series called This Hour Has 22 Minutes.[5] The show was a parody of the nightly news, and poked fun at Canadian and international politics. 22 Minutes received strong ratings during its earlier seasons and Walsh's character Marg Delahunty became famous for buttonholing politicians and submitting them to satirical interviews.[6] Usually Marg Delahunty would recite a scripted piece intended to humiliate the politician, often by providing criticism and "grandmotherly" advice. Sometimes Marg appeared as "Marg, Princess Warrior", a parody of the title character of Xena: Warrior Princess portrayed by Lucy Lawless. Walsh is also noted for her comical segment chronicling the Canadian Auto Workers Union's tense blockade of the Volvo Halifax Assembly plant in 1998. In 2007, she revived Marg Delahunty for the Royal Canadian Air Farce's 300th episode. On October 24, 2011, Walsh was once again in the spotlight as she reprised the role of Marg Delahunty conducting an ambush interview of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford at his home. Ford's reaction and alleged verbal abuse directed at 911 operator made national headlines.[7] She also reprised Marg, Princess Warrior for an episode of the 25th season of 22 Minutes in December 2017.

Other work[edit]

Walsh's other television work included the short-run sitcoms Dooley Gardens (1999); Hatching, Matching and Dispatching (2006);[5][8] and a guest starring role as Miranda Cahill on the CBC television series Republic of Doyle.[9] She currently has a recurring role on CBC's Little Dog.[10] She created the CBC program Mary Walsh: Open Book, a talk show about books and literature, in 2003.[5] Walsh revived the Fury family from Hatching, Matching, and Dispatching by writing and starring in A Christmas Fury[11]in 2017.

Besides TV acting, she has worked on movies such as Mambo Italiano,[5] Geraldine's Fortune,[12] Rain, Drizzle and Fog,[13] Buried on Sunday, The Divine Ryans, Young Triffie, Violet,[14] and The Grand Seduction.[citation needed][15]

2004 saw Walsh host a segment on the CBC documentary series The Greatest Canadian, in which she championed the case for Sir Frederick Banting (the Nobel prize-winning discoverer of insulin) as the greatest Canadian who ever lived.[5]

In June 2007, she hosted the Pride Toronto Gala & Awards ceremony.

On December 15, 2007, Walsh made national news with a story about her upcoming special, Nudity, Sexuality, Violence and Coarse Language, in which a large group of people who went and stripped naked standing next to St. John's Harbour in −11° Celsius (12.2° Fahrenheit) temperature to be filmed as a part of the show's closing. Walsh herself did not go nude.[16]

In 2017, Walsh published her debut novel, Crying for the Moon.[17]


Walsh made her feature directorial debut with the 2007 movie Young Triffie.[18] She was the first Newfoundlander in six years to have a film in general release across Canada.

Personal life[edit]

Walsh has battled alcoholism.[19][20] The Toronto Star reported that the end of CODCO coincided with the end of Walsh's active alcoholism, with Walsh stating "which was a damn good thing because I could have never done This Hour Has 22 Minutes if I'd been drinking."[21]


Performing arts[edit]

She won Best Supporting Actress at the Atlantic Film Festival in 1992 for her performance in Mike Jones' Secret Nation.[2]

On November 4, 2006, Walsh and Ed MacDonald picked up a Gemini Award for the best writing in a comedy or variety program for their work in Hatching, Matching and Dispatching.[22]

She has won 18 Gemini Awards.[23] She won the Canadian Screen Award for Best Supporting Actress at the 9th Canadian Screen Awards in 2021, for the film Happy Place.[24]

Walsh received a Governor General's Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement, Canada's highest honour in the performing arts, in 2012.[25]

Charity and activism[edit]

A sufferer of macular degeneration,[26] she has served from time to time as a spokesperson for the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB).

In 1993, Walsh was chosen to deliver the prestigious Graham Spry lecture which was broadcast nationally on CBC Radio.[2]

In 1994, Walsh addressed the United Nations Global Conference on Development in New York. She has also served as a spokesperson for Oxfam, Canada's human rights campaign, and in 2010 received Oxfam's Spirit of Change Award, in recognition of her years of dedication to eradicating poverty and ensuring public services for all.[27]

On May 29, 1998, Mary Walsh received an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Trent University.[28]

McGill University honoured Walsh with an honorary doctorate during the November 2008 convocation ceremony.[29] Her speech to the class of 2008 focused on political satire.[30]



Year Title Role Notes
1986 The Adventure of Faustus Bidgood Heady Nolan
1992 Secret Nation Oona Vokey
1998 Extraordinary Visitor Marietta
1999 New Waterford Girl Cookie Pottie
2003 Mambo Italiano Lina Paventi
2006 The Wind in the Willows Washerwoman
2007 Young Triffie Aunt Millie Bishop Director
2009 Crackie Bride
2013 The Grand Seduction Vera
2014 How To Be Deadly Dot Power
2015 Closet Monster Allison
2016 The Inn Of Olde Sadie Short Film
2017 A Christmas Fury Mamie Lou Fur
2020 Happy Place Mildred


Year TV Show Role Notes
1978 The Root Seller Various 6 Episodes
1986–1989 CODCO Various 35 Episodes
1993–2013 This Hour Has 22 Minutes Various 34 Episodes
1999 Dooley Gardens Marilyn Benoit 7 Episodes
2005–2006 Hatching, Matching and Dispatching Mamie Lou Furey 9 Episodes
2010–2014 Republic of Doyle Miranda Cahill 2 Episodes
2014–2016 Sensitive Skin Sarah Thorn 2 Episodes
2018 Little Dog Tucker
2020 Canada's Drag Race Herself (Guest Host) 1 Episode


Year TV Show Position Notes
1978 The Root Seller Writer 6 Episodes
1986–1989 CODCO Writer 35 Episodes
1998–1999 The Rosie O'Donnell Show Writer 193 Episodes
2003–2004 Mary Walsh: Open Book Writer 13 Episodes
2005–2006 Hatching, Matching and Dispatching Writer 6 Episodes
1993–2004 This Hour Has 22 Minutes Head Writer/Writer 31 Episodes
2017 Crying for the Moon: A Novel Writer


  1. ^ "Six individuals received a University of Prince Edward Island Doctor of Laws Degrees, honoris causa in May 2003". Lake of Shining Awards. Archived from the original on November 21, 2008.
  2. ^ a b c "Mary Walsh". The Canadian Encyclopedia, January 1, 2012.
  3. ^ "Who Do You Think You Are?". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on March 31, 2009.
  4. ^ "GGC Fun Facts" (PDF). Girl Guides of Canada.
  5. ^ a b c d e f "Mary Walsh: Warrior princess – Everything Zoomer – Boomers with Zip". Everything Zoomer – Boomers with Zip. January 1, 2006. Retrieved October 17, 2016.
  6. ^ "Mary Walsh resurrects Marg to bring change to Ottawa". Yahoo! News. Retrieved October 17, 2016.
  7. ^ Kennedy, Brendan; Rider, David (October 27, 2011). "Ford admits using f-word, denies insulting a 911 operator". Toronto Star.
  8. ^ "HATCHING, MATCHING & DISPATCHING PREMIERES JAN. 6 ON CBC". Retrieved October 18, 2016.
  9. ^ "Jake Doyle's last ride: Social media reacts". CBC News. Retrieved October 18, 2016.
  10. ^ "CBC's Little Dog is a rockin' raucous gem of a serious comedy". Retrieved February 7, 2019.
  11. ^ "A Christmas Fury is a new cracked and crazy Christmas classic". Retrieved February 7, 2019.
  12. ^ "Geraldine's Fortune *". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved October 18, 2016.
  13. ^ "CM Magazine: Rain, Drizzle and Fog: An Offbeat Look at St. John's, Newfoundland". Retrieved October 18, 2016.
  14. ^ "Hollywood Down East, but you'd never know it". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved October 18, 2016.
  15. ^ Bradbury, Tara. "'Grand Seduction' heads for TIFF premiere". The Telegram. Retrieved January 31, 2020.
  16. ^ "Nude St. John's waterfront TV shoot attracts 50". CBC News. December 15, 2007. Archived from the original on December 16, 2007.
  17. ^ "Mary Walsh adds new novel to creative resume". The Vancouver Sun, May 3, 2017.
  18. ^ "YOUNG TRIFFIE'S BEEN MADE AWAY WITH – Telefilm Canada". Archived from the original on October 19, 2016. Retrieved October 18, 2016.
  19. ^ [1]
  20. ^ [2]
  21. ^ [3]
  22. ^ "2006 Gemini Award winners". Retrieved October 18, 2016.
  23. ^ "Canada's Awards Database".
  24. ^ Zach Harper, "'Schitt's Creek' and 'Kim's Convenience' win big at 2021 Canadian Screen Awards". Hello! Canada, May 21, 2021.
  25. ^ "Rush wins Governor General's Award". CBC News. March 6, 2012. Archived from the original on March 6, 2012. Retrieved March 6, 2012.
  26. ^ "Warrior Princess Leads The Charge Against Macular Degeneration | Optical Prism Magazine". Retrieved October 17, 2016.
  27. ^ "Mary Walsh receives first 'Spirit of Change' award". Oxfam Canada. June 21, 2010. Retrieved October 17, 2016.
  28. ^
  29. ^ "Mary Walsh and Sheila Fraser to receive honorary degrees at McGill".
  30. ^ "Mary Walsh gets degree from McGill and says PM is a control freak". Archived from the original on January 26, 2013. Retrieved December 21, 2009.

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