by Ralph Lucas – Publisher
(December 31, 2021 – Toronto, ON) There are certain attachments that come with fame, and while the loss of anyone is a complicated mixture of sadness and happy memories, the passing of someone who had attained star status always overshadows other less well-known people. In the year now ending we have lost some of the truly great performers in front of and behind the cameras. They include Christopher Plummer, Martha Henry and, just a few days ago, director Jean-Marc Vallée.Actress Wendel Meldrum began life as Wendy Anne Meldrum. She excelled in gymnastics and dance and began to hone her unique creative talents while still in grade school in Edmonton. She moved to Toronto, then New York and then Los Angeles. Just one of her highlights in Hollywood was appearing as the “low-talker” on two episodes of Seinfeld. She won a Canadian Screen Award in 2013 for her work as Anne Blecher on several seasons on the Canadian series Less Than Kind. Among her many large screen credits, she costarred with Colm Feore in the 1990 feature Beautiful Dreamers. Wendel Meldrum was 67 when she died on January 27 after a brief illness.
Two days later actor Walter Boone died. Born on May 4, 1944 as Theodore Nicoloff, he attended the McGill University Faculty of Law and became a teacher. He pivoted to acting and landed his first role in the 1980 movie Deadline. He was 76 when he died on January 29.Three Canadian actors died in February. Christopher Plummer spent more than 60 years in front of the cameras and enjoyed a stage career in Canada, England and the United States. He starred in films like The Sound of Music, The Man Who Would Be King, All the Money in the World as well as Canadian films like The Pyx and The Silent Partner. I saw most of his films over the years but was invited to watch the stage production of Barrymore as it was being filmed. Seeing him at work on stage was special and he was clearly at home and completely comfortable portraying the great John Barrymore. Christopher Plummer was born in Toronto shortly after the stock market crash of 1929, but he grew up in Montreal. He died peacefully at home from complications following a fall. He was 91 when he died on February 5.
Marcia Diamond was born on November 23, 1925 in Calgary, Alberta. She attended school in Vancouver and became interested in acting when she was part of a school broadcast on radio. She made her first television appearance in 1955, but her career didn’t really start until 1970 when she began to work regularly on both the small and large screens. Marcia Diamond was 95 when she died in Toronto on February 12.
Raymond Lévesque was a singer-songwriter, poet, and occasional actor. We list only 13 credits in front of the cameras. He was 92 when he died in Montréal on February 15 due to COVID-19.
March brought the passing of two actors. Jahmil French, best known for his role as Dave Turner on Degrassi: The Next Generation appeared in 149 episodes of the series between 2009 and 2013. His work on the series brought a Canadian Screen Award nomination for Best Performance in a Children’s or Youth Program or Series in 2013. Jahmil French was just 28 when he died on March 1.
Jacques Brouillet was born in l’Assomption, Québec in 1937. He landed his first role in 1965 and made his 10th and last appearance in 2000. Seven of his 10 credits were for work on episodes of television series. In addition to acting he also taught theatre at the Conservatoire LaSalle à Montréal. He also did French voice work in versions of films like Porky’s, Ladykillers, This is My Father, Making Love and many, many more. Jacques Brouillet was 84 when he died in Montréal on March 10, eight years after a devastating stroke in 2013.