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Shirley Douglas | 1934 - 2020

As posted on Twitter by Kiefer Sutherland on April 5, 2020

Staff Announcement by The Stratford Festival, April 6, 2020.

As many of you know, on Sunday we lost former company member Shirley Douglas, a true star who was as celebrated for her passionate devotion to social and political causes as she was for her consummate artistry.

The daughter of Tommy Douglas, founder of Canada’s universal health care system, Shirley was a fierce champion of her father’s public-health legacy who also campaigned for civil rights and nuclear disarmament, and against the war in Vietnam.

She acted with us in 1989, playing Big Mama in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Compliant in The Relapse, and in 1990, when she played Oenone in Phaedra.

Her illustrious screen career included her role as activist Nellie McClung in the 1978 TV movie of that name, as well as appearances in such popular series as Corner Gas, Road to Avonlea and Street Legal. Nominated for Gemini Awards in 1993 and 1998, she won the award in 1999 for her performance in the TV movie Shadow Lake. She also appeared in such high-profile theatrical releases as Stanley Kubrick’s Lolita (1962) and David Cronenberg’s Dead Ringers (1988).

In 1997, at the National Arts Centre, she starred opposite her son, Kiefer Sutherland, in an NAC-Mirvish co-production of The Glass Menagerie.

Though she was with us for just two seasons, Shirley awed and inspired us all with her talent, her intelligence and her kindness. We mourn her passing – a sad, sad loss at a time when sadness already seems all around us – salute her accomplishments on stage and off, and extend our deepest sympathies to her family, friends and fellow artists.

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