Press Release: Festival mourns the loss of actor Wayne Robson

The Stratford Shakespeare Festival is deeply saddened to announce that company member Wayne Robson has passed away peacefully at his home.
After a long and varied career, Mr. Robson was to make his Stratford debut this season as Grampa inThe Grapes of Wrath.
“In the brief period since Wayne joined the Festival company, he very quickly became close to us all with his enthusiasm, good humour and enormous talent,” said General Director Antoni Cimolino. “He was generous in sharing stories from his past and from his vast experience in theatre across many countries dating back to the 1960s. He was immensely practical and yet a true imaginative child of the stage light.
“His work as Grampa had us both in stitches and in tears. Within The Grapes of Wrath, Grampa dies suddenly and his loss forever leaves a mark on the Joad family. So too does Wayne’s parting leave a gap in our Festival family.”
“I first met Wayne Robson more than 30 years ago,” said Artistic Director Des McAnuff, “when I offered him a part in A Mad World, My Masters at the St. Lawrence Centre in Toronto – which he had to turn down in order to accept a role in Robert Altman’s movie Popeye. I’d been looking for another opportunity to work with him ever since, so I was naturally delighted when he agreed to join our 2011 company.
“Now I am utterly heartbroken that he has been taken from us so prematurely, with such an important contribution still to make. Wayne was an outstanding artist who had a diverse and accomplished career on stage, in film and on television, and his loss will be heavily felt not only here in Stratford but across our country.”
The Festival will dedicate this season’s production of The Grapes of Wrath to the memory of Mr. Robson.
Mr. Robson appeared in over 100 theatre productions in Canada, 30 feature films and 120 television productions, including 12 seasons as Mike Hamar on The Red Green Show. Last November he played Morrie in Tuesdays with Morrie at the Sudbury Theatre Centre. He won Gemini Awards for his roles as Wally in And Then You Die and Christie Logan in The Diviners, a Dora Award for his portrayal of Stan in Walking the Tightrope at Theatre Direct and a Blizzard Award in Manitoba for his work in The Diviners. He also received Genie nominations for his roles as Shorty in The Grey Foxand Hank in Bye Bye Blues, and was named Actor of the Year by the Vancouver Sun.
In his 65th year, Mr. Robson leaves behind his children Ivy and Louis; their mother Lynn; and many, many friends and colleagues in theatre, film and television.
Funeral details will be announced at a later date.
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10 thoughts on “Press Release: Festival mourns the loss of actor Wayne Robson

  1. Wayne was a great man, and he leave behind many people who loved him, and forever will. I’m sorry for all of your losses.

    • Thank you so much. He was a great man and it’s too bad he isn’t able to live his dream of performing at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. But great he had the chance to do some rehearsing here, the company appreciated what he brought to the show. He will be greatly missed.

  2. I’m saddened to learn of Mr. Robson’s death. We enjoyed watching him on Red Green. Being in the U.S. we didn’t get to appreciate his talent in his many other roles. As Mike Hamar, it wasn’t difficult to believe Mike was a real person and you couldn’t help but feel sorry for him. Possum Lodge will not be the same without him. Quando omni flunkus moritati, Mike.

    • Bob, thank you for sharing this with us. He was wonderful both on and off stage. We are glad to have had him with us for a short time. He brought so much to the company of The Grapes of Wrath. He will be missed by many.

  3. So very, very sad. There will forever be a tear in my eye when I recite the man’s prayer…
    Rest well and Godspeed brother.

  4. Thank you all for your support and love. He was so completely ecstatic about being in Stratford and around people that loved him.

  5. You don’t know the half of it. Graphic artist, watercolourist, musician, (bass and guitar) song writer, poet, fledgling script writer, UNBELIEVABLE whistler (classical) political activist, mentor, humanitarian, punster, wiseacre, practical joker, devoted father, and a friend for the ages. (In my case 56 years.) I’m devastated. Shattered. REALLY PISSED OFF. So many laughs yet to come…….. Ivy and Louis your time with Wayne was all too brief but priceless. What a dad.

  6. I’m saddened to hear of the news. Wayne Robson was one of the familiar faces I fondly grew up watching. He was a man who helped make Canadian television viewing such a wonderful experience.

    Canada has lost one of it’s treasures.

  7. I was very sad to hear about the passing of Wayne Robson. I must confess the only way I could Wayne’s talent was through the medium of DVD. The charecter Mike Hammer, which he played on the Red Green Show, was brilliant. To take a support charecter and to malke it funny and belivable was superb. There when I watch the show and I swear one could see Steve Smith stand back as if to say “Stand back folks and watch a true pro in action”.
    Thanks Wayne. Thanks for the fun and thanks for the enjoyment. Here’s one guy in the UK who will miss your talent. To Ivy and the children, I would like offer my deepest sympathies. I know what you’re going through. But please remember the good times you had

  8. As an old west enthusiast I knew Mr. Robson’s work best from his role as Shorty Dunne in The Grey Fox, so I was quite floored when I learned of his far too early passing. I loved him in that role, he WAS that role. Right from the beginning when we first see him joking around in the sawmill with Richard Farnsworth’s character. You can write that kind of a thing only so much into a script, but it was Mr. Robson who made it come to life. My thoughts go out to his family.

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