Sandi Ross – Biography
(February 26, 2021 – Toronto, ON) Sandi Ross studied theatre at the University of Minnesota, where she grew up, receiving a BFA Degree and going on to become a professional actor on both sides of the border performing on stage and in front of the cameras for television and film. A selection of her series work include Rogue, A Raisin In The Sun, Down In The Delta, Nikita, Adventures In Babysitting, The Natalie Cole Story and Trailer Park Boys.
She spent three years at the Stratford Festival, which included a tour to New York City playing the role of Ursula in Much Ado About Nothing. Other theatre credits include Three Men on a Horse directed by John Hirsch The Coloured Museum directed by Martha Henry and Joe Turner’s Come and Gone and Amazon Dream directed by Ken Gass. She was nominated in 2011 for a Canadian Comedy award for her work in the 2010 movie Medium Raw: Night of the Wolf, which she once described, with humour, as playing a dissociative, psychopathic, homicidal cannibal. Part of George Luscombe’s company at Toronto Workshop Productions, she played Malachi Brown, a Black male baseball player, in Ain’t Lookin’ (1980). Other performances included appearances in The Seahorse and The Vagina Monologues (appearing with Jann Arden).
In 1994 Sandi Ross was the first woman and first person of colour elected president of ACTRA Toronto. A year earlier she had received a New Pioneers Award for the Arts from Skills for Change. In 2008 she was tapped by Women in Film and Television (WIFT) for a Crystal Award, and in 2012 ACTRA National named her – appropriately, on International Women’s Day – its Woman of the Year. In a media release on March 8 of that year, Ferne Downey, ACTRA National President, said in part, “Sandi is a tireless activist with a deep commitment to building a strong arts industry that reflects our country’s rich diversity.” Christine Willes, Co-Chair of the ACTRA National Women’s Committee added that Ross “…enjoys a dynamic career as an actor and is an inspiring advocate for the arts, performers unions, visible and audible minorities and disabled performers.” Ross served on numerous performing arts diversity committees and sat on arts juries for the Canada Council, the Ontario Arts Council, Toronto Arts Council and The Racial Equity Committee of the Canada Council.
Her career on stage, screen and TV lasted 35 years and included many notable achievements including being a co-founder of the Obsidian Theatre in 1999. She was the founding editor and produced the first two volumes of The Mainstream, a national casting directory “of visible and audible minorities.”
Sandi Ross was 67 when she died at home in Toronto on August 31, 2016. ACTRA created The Sandi Ross Awards in her honour to recognize “an individual and a company who incorporate diversity and inclusion in their body of work.”
Also see: Filmography for Sandi Ross.
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