Nova Scotia

John Dunsworth, Mr. Lahey on Trailer Park Boys, dead at 71

John Dunsworth, a Nova Scotia actor best known as the irreverent trailer park supervisor Jim Lahey, has died at the age of 71.

Nova Scotia actor died Monday after a 'short and unexpected illness,' his daughter confirmed

John Dunsworth arrives at the 30th annual Genie Awards in Toronto in April 2010. (Chris Young/Canadian Press)

John Dunsworth, a Nova Scotia actor best known as the irreverent trailer park supervisor Jim Lahey, has died at the age of 71.

Dunsworth played Mr. Lahey on Trailer Park Boys, and is also known for his portrayal of Dave Teagues in the series Haven.

"With heavy and broken hearts the family of John F. Dunsworth would like to let people know that our amazing husband, father and grandfather John Dunsworth has passed away," his daughter Sarah Dunsworth said in a statement to CBC News.

"John left this world peacefully after a short and unexpected illness," her statement said. 

Longtime theatre actor in Halifax

Born in Bridgewater, N.S., he was a part in the Nova Scotia theatre and acting community for decades. 

Born in Bridgewater, N.S., John Dunsworth was a part in the Nova Scotia theatre and acting community for decades. (John Dunsworth/Facebook)

While growing up in Halifax, Dunsworth "didn't have the foggiest notion" he would become an actor, he once told CBC's At the Table

He moved to Toronto in the mid-'60s, and began performing on stage while attending the University of Guelph.

"I decided then and there that I don't care if I go broke in my life, I am going to be an actor, because I love to live in other people's shoes and learn other [existences]," he told CBC in the 2010 interview. 

In the '80s, long before Mr. Lahey became a household name, Dunsworth started a casting agency because he said there were so few film opportunities in Nova Scotia. He said that allowed him to go to auditions, and later he helped actors such as Halifax's Ellen Page find work.

He said he did everything from building sets to voiceovers, but always believed in the potential of the film industry in Nova Scotia. 

"We'd be way better off if we nurtured our own talent and allowed it to flourish here," he said in 2010. 

Tour was scheduled

Over the years, Dunsworth appeared in dozens of television shows and movies. He had played Mr. Lahey since 2001 and toured with actor Patrick Roach, who appeared as the trailer park's assistant manager. They were scheduled to perform this week in Florida, but the shows were cancelled earlier Monday. 

Unlike his best-known character, Dunsworth didn't drink and advocated against video lottery terminals, motivated by his own battle with a gambling addiction. 

John Dunsworth's classic interview with Jim Nunn

5 years ago
Duration 4:50
In 2008, John Dunsworth was interviewed by former CBC Nova Scotia anchor Jim Nunn about the original Trailer Park Boys series coming to an end.

With files from Anjuli Patil


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