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ACTRA Names Jean Freeman Woman of the Year
By staff

;Jean Freeman;
(March 6, 2014 – Toronto, Ontario) ACTRA, which represents the interests of 22,000 members across Canada, has turned the spotlight on Jean Freeman, naming the Saskatchewan-born actor 2014`s Woman of the Year. Each year ACTRA’s Women’s Committee bestows this honour on a woman who has shone both in her artistic and advocacy achievements. “After 47 gratifying and rewarding years as a member of ACTRA, this honour is definitely the high point of all we’ve been through together,” said Freeman, pictured above as the Mayor’s grandmother on the hit CTV series Corner Gas. “As my friends in Dog River might say, ‘It’s like lightning in a bottle – or maybe a jam jar!’”

Freeman was the first actor to join the Saskatchewan branch of ACTRA in 1967 and has been named a Life Member of the union, as well as the Canadian Public Relations Society, the Regina Women’s Network and Regina Little Theatre.

She was one of the first employees of Regina`s CKCK-TV and later became a CBC Radio on-air personality on Matinee Comment in Winnipeg and Regina. She has received numerous honours, including a Lifetime Achievement Award in the Mayor’s Arts & Business Awards, Woman of Distinction from the Regina YWCA and Trimark Canadian Women`s Mentor Arts and Culture Award. Jean co-authored Fists Upon a Star: A Memoir of Love, Theatre and Escape From McCarthyism, with the late theatre pioneer Florence Bean James, which was short-listed for a 2014 Saskatchewan Book Award. Most recently, her children’s book Terror on Turtle Creek has also been short-listed.

“Jean Freeman is not only an accomplished actor, she is a writer, a communicator and a pioneer in the Saskatchewan film and television industry,” said Ferne Downey, ACTRA National President. “When trouble came to Saskatchewan with the provincial government dismantling the film and television tax credit incentives, Jean fought back. We applaud Jean for the vision and strength she has provided to her union and the province’s whole entertainment industry.”

The mandate of the ACTRA National Women’s Committee includes exploring the concerns of female ACTRA members and supporting women within ACTRA and in the audiovisual industry as a whole. Heather Allin chairs the Committee. Jean Freeman is the fifth woman to be chosen “ACTRA Woman of the Year” for her artistic and advocacy achievements and joins past recipients Shirley Douglas, Tantoo Cardinal, Sandi Ross and Mary Walsh.

ACTRA (Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists) is the national union of professional performers working in the English-language recorded media in Canada.