Veteran actress Frances Hyland dies at 77

Saskatchewan-born Frances Hyland, veteran actress of stage, screen and TV, died in Toronto on Sunday at age 77.

Canadian actress Frances Hyland, who spent more than 50 years entertaining audiences across the country, died in Toronto on Sunday. She was 77.

The Saskatchewan-born actress died from complications following recent surgery, her son Evan McCowan said on Monday.

Hyland was a fixture on both stage and screen, frequently starring in Stratford and Shaw festival productions, as well as in film and on TV, including a role as Louisa J. Banks, Sara Stanley's nanny on CBC-TV's Road to Avonlea.

Born in Shaunavon in 1927, Hyland studied at the University of Saskatchewan before winning a scholarship to study acting at the British Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. She went on to graduate with distinction and made her professional debut in London, starring with John Gielgud in A Streetcar Named Desire.

In 1954, Tyrone Guthrie, the Stratford Festival's founding artistic director, implored Hyland to return home, where she enthralled audiences in Measure for Measure.

She became a Stratford regular for more than 40 years and also performed both contemporary and modern roles at theatres across the country. Though she continued to perform occasionally in London and in New York, she gave up a career abroad to focus on the Canadian stage.

Her resumé also included radio dramas, film and TV work. Hyland's honours include being named to the Order of Canada, lifetime achievement awards from the Governor General and the Toronto arts community, and ACTRA's John Drainie Award for distinguished contribution to broadcasting.