British Columbia

B.C.'s Brent Carver — star of Broadway, West End and Stratford Festival — dead at 68

One of Canada’s great stage actors, Brent Carver, passed away on Aug. 4, according to his family in a Facebook post.

Carver won a Tony award for his role in Kiss of the Spider Woman on New York stage

Brent Carver appeared as Feste in Stratford Festival's 2017 production Twelfth Night. (Cylla von Tiedemann)

One of Canada's great stage actors, Brent Carver, passed away on Aug. 4, according to his family in a Facebook post.

He was 68 years old. No cause of death has been released.

Carver, whose talents have been witnessed on stages around the world, died in his hometown of Cranbrook in southeastern B.C.

Carver's career took him to Broadway in New York, London's West End and many theatres across Canada, including the Shaw and Stratford festivals, as well as roles in TV and film.

 In 2014, he was awarded the Governor General's Performing Arts Award For Lifetime Artistic Achievement, a  proud moment for his entire family, they wrote.
 
"But 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," read the post.

"His love of performing was matched only by his zest for life and lifetime devotion to family, friends and treasured pets."

In 1993, Carver won a Tony award for his role in the Broadway production of Kiss of the Spider Woman, alongside Chita Rivera.

WATCH | Carver performs in the role that netted him a Tony in 1993 

Cranbrook, B.C., actor Brent Carver sings She's a Woman in 1993, the same year he won the Tony Award for best actor in a musical. 1:15

And his talents were recognizable from a young age. One of his teachers at Mount Baker Secondary in Cranbrook, Paul Kershaw, remembers how Carver starred in a play in Grade 9 and won the best actor award at a local festival.

"He seemed to come alive when he got on stage," he said.

The National Arts Centre in Ottawa tweeted its flag is now at half-mast in memory of Brent Carver and sent condolences to his loved ones.

Artistic Director of the Stratford Festival, Antoni Cimolino, said in a statement that everyone at the festival was devastated by Carver's passing.

"Brent was an artist who demanded the most from himself, opening up his heart to reveal the pain and beauty of life. He was an inspiration to everyone who knew him."

Carver appeared in nine seasons with the Stratford Festival, beginning with Long Day's Journey Into Night with William Hutt and Jessica Tandy in 1980. In 2017 — his last season with the festival — he starred in Twelfth Night and The School for Scandal, as well as presenting his own cabaret.

Carver is survived by his sisters, Vicki Stanley and Frankie Reekie, and brothers Randy and Shawn, as well as many nieces and nephews and grand-nieces and -nephews, said the festival.

A private family memorial is scheduled and a separate celebration of life will be held by the Stratford Festival when public health conditions allow.

With files from Bob Keating

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