TORONTO – Stage and screen actor David Fox, revered for his commitment to bringing Canadian stories to life in the theatre, has died.
The artistic director of the Blyth Festival says Fox died at age 80 in a Toronto hospice late last week after a long battle with cancer.
Fox, a former high school teacher, emerged as a foundational figure in Canada’s alternative theatre scene in the early 1970s.
He rose to prominence for his naturalistic performances in the early days of Toronto’s Theatre Passe Muraille, originating roles in such seminal productions as “The Farm Show,” and “1837: The Farmer’s Revolt.”
He went on to perform at major venues across the country, including the Stratford Festival and Mirvish’s Royal Alexandra Theatre.
He also landed numerous roles on film and television, playing a recurring character on the CBC series “Road to Avonlea.”
In his later years, Fox won acclaim for his star turn in Watershed Shakespeare Festival Collective’s 2015 production of “King Lear.” In 2017, he produced a one-man recitation of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” at Toronto’s Red Sandcastle Theatre
His honours included a 1999 Dora Mavor Award for his performance in Theatre Passe Muraille’s “The Drawer Boy,” and a Sterling Award for his role in 1989’s “The Invention of Poetry” at Edmonton’s Citadel Theatre.
Fox was made a member of the Order of Canada in 2018 for his contributions as a champion of Canadian theatre.
News of Fox’s death sparked an outpouring of tributes on social media, with Blyth artistic director Gil Garratt remembering him as a “titan” of the Canadian stage.
“With his imposing stature, his incisive mind, and blown glass heart, Fox was possessed of the kind of power onstage that pulled all of us deeper into the dream,” Garratt wrote on Facebook.
“Fox had an inexhaustible ability to go deeper and richer than any actor I’d met, and the gift of struggling to keep up with him is one I will forever cherish.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 14, 2021.