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You know Jayne Eastwood's face, if not her name

She became a familiar sight on small and big Canadian screens starting in 1970, and since then Jayne Eastwood has rarely fallen out of view.

Hey Lady! actor and comedy veteran Jayne Eastwood has rarely been out of sight since 1970

Jayne Eastwood, seen in a 1979 photo, played the character Gwen on the sitcom King of Kensington. (CBC Still Photo Collection)

Jayne Eastwood has been a staple of small and big Canadian screens since the 1970 feature film Goin' Down the Road, and since then she has rarely fallen out of view. 

Eastwood, who has been seen on the CBC Gem web series Hey Lady! since its debut in February 2020, is Tom Power's guest on an upcoming episode of CBC Radio's q this May 11.

According to CBC publicity materials, Hey Lady! is an original comedy series "about a wiry old gal with a whiskey voice and a bourbon appetite, who refuses to let herself be put out to pasture."

The show was written by Morris Panych and directed by Adriana Maggs, Sarah Polley and Will Bowes. It is also said to mark the first time a role was written especially for Eastwood.

Goin' Down the RoadGodspell and more

Actors Marvin Goldhar and Jayne Eastwood are seen in a 1970 photo from the Hart & Lorne Terrific Hour on CBC. (Roy Martin/CBC Still Photo Collection)

A peek into the CBC catalog reveals Eastwood's name starting in 1970, when she was an ensemble member on The Hart and Lorne Terrific Hour, a CBC sketch comedy series created by Saturday Night Live founder Lorne Michaels.   

That same year saw the release of Goin' Down the Road, a film that is "widely recognized as marking the beginning of the film industry in English Canada," according to The Canadian Encyclopedia. 

Eastwood was also a cast member in a 1972 production of the musical Godspell in Toronto, along with an ensemble that included Gilda Radner, Andrea Martin, Martin Short, Eugene Levy and Victor Garber, according to a review in the Globe and Mail. 

"I think Godspell came along just in time," Eastwood told the newspaper in a profile soon after the musical's debut. "I don't think I could do and more [commercials] for about another year." By her estimate, she had done about 22 commercials in the previous year.

'You can't afford to work for nothing'

Steady work for Jayne Eastwood in 1978

Digital Archives

43 years ago
2:28
Actor Jayne Eastwood talks to CBC host Barbara McLeod about her work as an actor on stage, in TV and movies. 2:28

Eastwood's name appears in the in the CBC catalog in the mid-1970s performing in various dramas, participating in a live comedy series called Stay Tuned and taking on guest-hosting duties. She also won an ACTRA award in 1976. 

In 1978, she told host Barbara McLeod on the CBC afternoon talk show Time for You that she was getting enough steady acting work that she could afford to turn down some offers.

"I have missed out on a few very good experimental films that have turned out well, because of the lack of money," she told McLeod. "You just get to a point where you can't afford to work for nothing.

"So you don't have the freedom to experiment as much as you'd like to."

Actors Jayne Eastwood and Gordon Pinsent read for a radio drama in an undated photo. (CBC Still Photo Collection)

Eastwood joined the CBC situation comedy King of Kensington in 1979-1980, its fifth and final season. In the early '80s, she was a panellist on Daytime Challenge, an adapted version of Front Page Challenge for an afternoon broadcast.

Later, in 1985, Eastwood performed in the CBC adapted mini-series Anne of Green Gables. According to the Internet Movie Database, she played Mrs. Hammond — the mother of six who Anne had been sent to help before she was returned to the orphanage.

"Eastwood is particularly effective," read a Globe and Mail review of a 1987 TV movie, in which Eastwood played a "concerned nurse," called Baby John Doe. "She is a likable and natural performer, believable in every aspect."

Around that same time, in 1987 and 1988, Eastwood could also be been by CBC viewers on a pair of specials showcasing the talents of the venerable comedy duo Wayne and Shuster.

More CBC series followed for Eastwood: a fashion-business sitcom, Material World, in the early 1990s, and the legal drama This is Wonderland starting in 2005. 

'You're 25 years old inside'

Goin' Down the Road, the sequel

Digital Archives

10 years ago
2:26
Director Don Shebib and actor Jayne Eastwood return for the next chapter of the classic 1974 Canadian film. 2:26
    

In 2011, Eastwood was recognized for lifetime achievement by the Canadian Comedy Awards — the same year she joined film director Don Shebib to revisit familiar territory.

"Forty years after Goin' Down the Road made waves, the red carpet was rolled out for a sequel," explained the CBC's Arisa Cox, as Eastwood and some well-wishers turned up for the sequel's premiere.

"Nobody believed in the film when it was being made," Shebib told Cox in October 2011. "Then when reaction was good, I was overwhelmed by it."

Eastwood admitted to being "scared" of reaction to the new film, which she described as a "risk."

"I'm not fond of watching myself age on film," she said. "Because you're still 25 years old inside."

Actress Jayne Eastwood in the q studio in Toronto. (Vivian Rashotte/CBC)

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