Brent Carver remembered as a national treasure
Brent Carver, one of Cranbrook’s most famous and honoured citizens, died in his hometown at the age of 68 August 6.
Obituary of Brent Christopher Carver – 1951 – 2020
Our family is sharing news of Brent Carver’s passing at home in Cranbrook, B.C., his birthplace, and favourite place on Earth.
Blessed with many talents and a natural love of theatre, Brent was always known as a first-class performer, unique in the presentation of his craft, delighting audiences through film, TV, stage, and concert performances.
An impressive record, dating back to 1972, of awards, solo shows, collaborations with musicians, Broadway and West End shows and memorable performances at theatres across Canada and the United States culminated in a Governor General’s Performing Arts Award For Lifetime Artistic Achievement in 2014–a proud moment for our entire family.
Brent, in his humble fashion, will be remembered as the kind, gentle and gifted man he was, with the deepest love as a true friend and family member.
His love of performing was equaled only by his zest for life and lifetime devotion to family, friends, and treasured pets.
Thank you to the performing arts community for embracing our Brent and helping him fulfill his dreams with joy in his heart. Our family would also like to say a special thank you for all the social media tributes and messages, we encourage you all to read some of the beautiful comments and memories being shared over the internet, and to know we appreciate and cherish each word written.
Brent will be missed. There will be a full obituary in days to come.
With All Our Love
The Carver Family (From Canada Obituaries).
Broadway World presented a detailed look at Brent Carver’s illustrious and honour-laden career.
“He began studies at the University of British Columbia but left in 1972 to pursue a career in theatre, performing in the Vancouver Arts Club’s production of Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris.
“In 1976 he played Leo in the CBC television sitcom Leo and Me, which also starred a young Michael J. Fox in his first television show. Though taped in the mid-1970s, the program did not air till 1981. Other television work in the 1970s included Inside Canada (1973) and the TV movies One Night Stand (1978), for which he earned an Etrog Award, and Crossbar (1979), in which he starred with Kim Cattrall.
“In 1979, Carver made his first appearance on a U.S. stage, playing Ariel to Anthony Hopkins‘s Prospero in The Tempest at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. Carver won his first Dora Award for his portrayal of Horst in Martin Sherman‘s Bent (1981), a play about the Nazi persecution of homosexuals, at the Bathurst Street Theatre in Toronto,” Broadway World stated.
“His stage work involved an extended association with Canada’s Stratford Shakespeare Festival in the 1980s, where he performed in many of the classic repertory pieces, including Hamlet (title role). In the 1980s he also appeared in a number of films, TV movies and dramatic productions, and television shows, including The Wars (1983), Cross Country (1983), Anne’s Story (1984), Love and Larceny (1985), The Pirates of Penzance (1985), All for One (1985), Much Ado About Nothing (1987), Spies, Lies & Naked Thighs (1988), The Twilight Zone (1989), War of the Worlds (1989), and Millennium (1989).
“For all his stage and screen work, Carver became an international star with his stellar performance as Molina – in Toronto, New York, and London – in Kander and Ebb’s musical The Kiss of the Spider Woman.
“In that role, Carver won the Tony Award for Best Leading Actor in a Musical in 1993, as well as a New York Drama Desk Award, a Dora Award, and an Olivier Award nomination. He can be heard on the original London cast recording.
“In 1996, at Toronto’s Royal Alexandra Theatre and Vancouver’s Ford Centre for the Performing Arts, Carver offered his own cabaret show, Brent Carver in Concert. He returned to New York in 1998, playing Leo Frank in the original cast of Parade, a musical by Alfred Uhry and Jason Robert Brown, at Lincoln Center. The musical won two Tony Awards and several nominations, and Carver, who can be heard on the original Broadway cast recording, won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical.”
The Stratford Festival noted on Facebook: “We are devastated to learn of the death of Brent Carver, an actor of incomparable talent and a long-time member of our company.
Brent was an artist who demanded the utmost of himself, opening up his heart to reveal the pain and beauty of life. He was an inspiration to everyone who knew him. Like Cleopatra, he had infinite variety: he was fire and air and he now leaves the other elements, earth and water, to this mortal life.
“Brent was a national treasure, performing on stages across Canada as well as in dozens of film and television roles. In 1993 he won the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical for Kiss of the Spider Woman. He was nominated again in 1999 for Parade. He also toured to New York in 2004 with the Festival’s production of King Lear, in which he played Edgar to Christopher Plummer’s Lear.”
Stratford Festival shared the following video to provide a glimpse of Brent Carver’s great talent.
Remembering Brent Carver in his final Stratford performance… —Twelfth Night (2017)Director: Martha HenryDesigner: John Pennoyer Lighting Designer: Louise GuinandComposer & Sound Designer: Reza JacobsMovement Director: Valerie MooreFeaturing Brent Carver, Shannon Taylor, Michael Blake, E.B. Smith, Sarah Afful, Rod Beattie, Geraint Wyn Davies, Lucy Peacock, Gordon S. Miller, Tom Rooney, Brigit Wilson, Mercedes Morris, Monice Peter, Matthew G. Brown, Farhang Ghajar, Emilio Vieira
Posted by Stratford Festival on Thursday, August 6, 2020
Glenn Sumi with Toronto’s Now noted: “Anyone who saw Brent Carver perform – onstage or on film – will never forget him. Like the greatest artists, the actor and singer had access to something transcendent and sublime.”
Lead image: Brent Carver as Hamlet in the 1986 Stratford Festival production. Director: John Neville; Designer Sue LePage; Lighting Designer Louise Guinand. Photography: Robert C. Ragsdale