Tony van Bridge, the veteran Canadian actor long associated with the Shaw Festival in Ontario, was appointed to the Order of Canada, the country's highest honor for lifetime achievement.
Van Bridge, born in England, is among 103 appointees. All Canadians are eligible for the Order of Canada.
This season at the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake, the 83-year-old van Bridge is appearing in Oscar Wilde's A Woman of No Importance. He immigrated to Canada in 1954 after graduating from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and performing throughout the United Kingdom.
He performed 15 seasons with the Stratford Festival. He is currently in his 21st season with the Shaw Festival, the company devoted to the works of Bernard Shaw (who was on the Board of Governors of RADA when he studied there). He has also appeared in theatres throughout Canada, and on TV, as well.
In 1999 at the Shaw Festival, van Bridge played the role of Colonel Julyan in Rebecca and Corporal Brewster in Waterloo. He took on the role of acting artistic director of the company in 1975, while then-artistic director, Paxton Whitehead, took a year's sabbatical. According to his Shaw bio, van Bridge devised, produced and starred in the acclaimed one-man show, GKC, based on the writings of Gilbert Keith Chesterton, which he launched at The Shaw in 1970 and again in 1975. GKC later toured throughout the 1970's to major theatres in North America, including the National Arts Centre and the Stratford Festival.
In the United States, he appeared on stages in Boston, New York, Stratford, CT, Philadelphia and Houston, and directed for the Alabama Shakespeare Festival.
His autobiography is called "Also in the Cast."
-- By Kenneth Jones