Gordon Pinsent, the adored Canadian actor whose career hit its peak well into his 70s with an award-winning performance as the heartbroken husband in “Away From Her,” has died.
Pinset died on Saturday evening at age 92, his friend actor Mark Critch confirmed.
The Newfoundland native, a household name in Canada for decades after his many appearances on stage and screen, became known internationally after his Genie Award-winning turn as Grant in Sarah Polley’s acclaimed directorial debut.
His dignified portrayal so impressed Daniel Day-Lewis, who went on to win the best actor Oscar in 2008 for “There Will Be Blood,” that he sent an email to Polley praising Pinsent’s performance as one of the most “astonishing” he’d ever seen.
Those types of kudos tickled the modest Pinsent. Well into the final years of his life, the actor remained mischievous, giggly and often as giddy as a schoolboy whenever any praise was sent his way.
“Now you see, I don’t talk that way about myself, so I was pleased _ it was just terrific,” Pinsent said with a laugh in an interview with The Canadian Press of Day-Lewis’s email and the continuing raves he was getting for “Away From Her,” especially since he didn’t garner the kind of international awards recognition some critics said he deserved for the role.
Pinsent was “suave, classy elegant, well-spoken,” said Critch, a fellow Newfoundlander and family friend who says he became close with Pinsent after working they worked together on a YouTube project.
Actors in Canada are following “on a path that (Pinsent) cut through a forest,” said Critch in a phone interview.
“He never forgot anything. Like he would call you on Christmas, he’d call you on your birthday, he’d call you on Father’s Day, and we’d have a Facetime or a call,” said Critch.
“I will miss my great mentor and this hero, this giant colossus of Canadian entertainment, but I’ll miss my friend Gordon Pinsent from Newfoundland because he was an even better friend than he was an actor,” said Critch.
Born in Grand Falls, N.L., in 1930, Pinsent was the youngest of six children born to Stephen Pinsent, a papermill worker and cobbler, and his wife, Flossie.
The actor described himself as an awkward child who once suffered from rickets. His schoolmates called him “Porky.”
By Lee-Anne Goodman
The Canadian Press