William Leonard Sean McCann was born, grew up and went to school in Windsor, Ontario. He studied at the University of Western Ontario to become a priest but turned to acting and began a get small roles in Canadian films in the mid-1970s. His reputation grew quickly and a little more than a decade later he received a Best Supporting Actor nomination for his recurring role in the series Night Heat at the 1987 Gemini Awards. It was the beginning of an incredibly active period for this fine Canadian actor. Just one year later he would land the role that quickly became one of his favourites.
Cast to play Canadian Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King in The King Chronicles, the 1988 3-part mini-series was directed by Donald Brittain and met with enormous popular and critical acclaim.
The very next year he was honoured with the prestigious Earl Grey Award at the 1989 Gemini Awards, celebrating his entire body of work in television to that time. Yet, some of his best work was still ahead. For example, he was honoured with a Genie Award nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role for his work in Swann. In 1999, he won a Gemini for Best Guest Actor in a Series for Power Play. He was nominated for a Gemini Award for Best Performance in a Pre-School Series in 1999 for Noddy.
McCann also co-starred in Robert Lepage’s Genie Award-winning Possible Worlds, and appeared in the Golden Globe-nominated Small Sacrifices with Farrah Fawcett. Almost two decades later, McCann, in his early 80s, was still a busy actor, showing up in made-for-TV movies, short films and features. One of his last roles was that of hockey referee Red Story in the biopic about legendary NHL goaltender Terry Sawchuck titled Goalie and directed by Adriana Maggs. It was scheduled to be broadcast on CBC on June 15, 2019 two days after McCann died at Toronto Western Hospital on Thursday, June 13. He was 83.
Also see: Sean McCann’s Filmography.