(September 25, 2014 – Toronto, Ontario) The Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA) has announced that Newfoundland actor Mack Furlong will be the recipient of the association`s prestigious John Drainie Award. The award will be presented at a reception in St. John`s on October 15. “It gives me great pleasure to present this honour to Mack Furlong. Like John Drainie, he is an actor and broadcast journalist par excellence,” said Ferne Downey, ACTRA National President.
Downey went on to say, “Mack’s complex radio characters deliver a conscious comedy – they provoke us to laugh and think at the same time. Mack is a rare gem and deserves this national recognition.”
John Drainie was one of Canada’s most well-known and distinguished actors and was described by Orson Welles as one of the greatest radio actors in the world. In Drainie’s fine tradition, Mack Furlong is an acclaimed and passionate performer. Billed as Newfoundland`s “cultural magazine”, Mack starred on the CBC Radio comedy The Great Eastern from 1994 to 1999. Edward Riche, one of the writers on the show, said, “Mack is one the true masters of the radio medium. He’s precisely what the Drainie Award celebrates. I cannot think of a more worthy recipient.”
Mack Furlong played Paul Moth on The Great Eastern – the fictional broadcaster whose hearty introductions and stories were performed in a cinéma vérité style within an audio format. Mack is an actor, writer and musician with credits including Rare Birds and Crackie. His beloved character Moth resurfaced for the radio show Sunny Days and Nights in 2004.
Mack lives in St. John`s and is a regular on the CBC Radio talk show, Crosstalk. He claims that his lifelong ability to remember all manner of useless information is just the qualification necessary for a trivia panelist. Mack hosted and produced the CBC Radio program Weekend Arts Magazine off and on since the early ’90s.
Mack’s awards include a CBC Radio Award for Programming Excellence and a Writers Guild of Canada Award for The Great Eastern. He served on the board of directors of the Resource Centre for the Arts, on ACTRA’s National Council and on the board of governors for the Actra Fraternal Benefit Society. He currently sits on the Branch Council of ACTRA Newfoundland and Labrador and is the co-artistic director of Sound Symposium, a bi-annual international celebration of all aspects of sound.
Created in 1968, two years after Drainie’s death, the award has been bestowed to an illustrious list of past recipients including Barbara Budd, Pierre Berton, Barbara Frum, Vicki Gabereau, Peter Gzowski, Wendy Mesley, Mavor Moore, Knowlton Nash, Len Peterson, Gordon Pinsent, Shelagh Rogers, Lister Sinclair, David Suzuki, Johnny Wayne and Frank Shuster. ACTRA is the national union of professional performers working in the English-language recorded media in Canada. ACTRA represents the interests of 22,000 members across Canada..