LEON POWNALL Died June 2, 2006
Canadian actor Leon Pownall died of cancer at age 63. Mr. Pownall enjoyed a successful stage and screen career. He was a frequent performer at the Stratford Festival for nearly 40 years. Mr. Pownall appeared in nearly 40 films and TV shows. He played McAlistar in "Dead Poets Society." Mr. Pownall also had a nice supporting role in the excellent Canadian TV movie "Hiroshima," in which portrayed General George C. Marshall. Other credits include "Wiseguy," "Road to Avonlea" and "The Day Reagan Was Shot." Mr. Pownall was nominated for the Canadian Gemini Award for "Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Dramatic Program or Mini-Series" for his work in the mini series "The Sleep Room."
© Entertainment Insiders
Stratford Shakespeare Festival: Leon Pownall
Leon Pownall: Playwright and director of Do Not Go Gentle.
Born in Wales in 1943, Leon Pownall came to Canada with his family in 1957. In 1964, after graduating from Central High School in Hamilton, Ontario, he was accepted into the National Theatre School but chose instead to join the acting company of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival.
He subsequently left the stage for some years to run his own business in Vancouver but rejoined the Festival company in 1986 to play Henry VIII – both in Shakespeare’s play of that title and in Robert Bolt’s A Man for All Seasons.
In addition to acting and directing at other theatres across Canada, he spent a total of 15 seasons at the Festival, where his other notable roles included Theseus in Phaedra (1990), Claudius in Hamlet (1991), Long John Silver in Treasure Island (1991), Dunstan Ramsay in World of Wonders (1992) and Antony in Antony and Cleopatra (1993). An Associate Director of the Festival in 1992, he was also Founding Artistic Director of Nanaimo’s Shakespeare Plus.
He last appeared at the Festival in 2002, as Abraham in Bereav’d of Light at the newly opened Studio Theatre. He also directed three performances of Do Not Go Gentle at the Studio that same season, then directed the show off-Broadway in 2005.
His many screen credits include the films Dead Poets Society (1989) and Bye Bye Blues (both 1989) and the TV series The Beachcombers, Wiseguy, Danger Bay, E.N.G., Street Legal, Road to Avonlea and Slings and Arrows. He was nominated for a Gemini Award for his role as Dr. Ewan Cameron in the 1998 mini-series The Sleep Room.
Mr. Pownall died of cancer on June 2, 2006, at the age of 63.