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Jackie Burroughs

Jackie Burroughsb. February 2, 1939, Lancashire, England

A leading figure in Canadian theatre, Jackie Burroughs has made her mark on both stage and screen and won virtually every acting award available in Canada. The dynamic Burroughs – Jackie B. to her friends – has a well-earned reputation as a visionary, a bohemian, an eccentric and an adventurer. Intense, flamboyant and unpredictable, she has an enviable range that extends from Shakespeare to the avant-garde, though she is perhaps most recognized for her roles as outsiders and eccentrics. Her career runs an onscreen gamut from the multi-Gemini-winning role of the grouchy but lovable Hetty King in the long-running TV series “Road to Avonlea” to the drug-addled tourist “taking a vacation from feminism” in A Winter Tan (1988).

Born in Lancashire, England, Burroughs moved with her family to Niagara-On-The-Lake when she was twelve and was enrolled in Branksome Hall, a private girls’ school in Toronto. After graduating from the University of Toronto in 1962, she made her stage debut in a production of N.F. Simpson’s A Resounding Tinkle at the University of Toronto's Hart House Theatre. She continued to act in summer theatre, which soon led to work in an avant-garde cabaret and with Ontario's Stratford Shakespeare Festival. In 1963, her neighbour, director René Bonniére, cast her in her first television series “Twelve and a Half Cents”. She performed with most of the major theatre companies in Canada including the Shaw Festival and the National Arts Centre, and was at Stratford during the heyday of artistic director Robin Phillips. She co-starred with Peter O’Toole in several productions, including Anton Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya and Noel Coward’s Present Laughter, appeared in countless plays and studied in New York City with the famed acting coach Uta Hagen.

Burroughs was a key figure during English Canadian cinema’s early, developmental period in the late sixties and early seventies. She contributed memorable, challenging and often revelatory performances in such films as Don Owen’s Notes for a Film About Donna & Gail (1966) and The Ernie Game (1967), Morley Markson’s Monkeys in the Attic A Film of Exploding Dreams (1974), Patrick Loubert’s 125 Rooms of Comfort (1974) and Mort Ransen’s Running Time (1974). Though the success of these films varied, Burroughs’s work was consistently engaging and often one of the most noteworthy elements.

In the early eighties, she won back-to-back Best Supporting Actress Genie Awards for her supporting performances in Phillip Borsos's The Grey Fox (1982) and Robin Phillips's The Wars (1983). She also played Amelia Evans in the hugely popular CBC-TV mini-series “Anne of Greene Gables” (1985). She then spent six years developing A Winter Tan, based on the letters of Maryse Holder, about a middle-aged feminist's hedonistic, alcohol-soaked sexual odyssey through Mexico. Burroughs produced, wrote, directed and starred in the film, for which she won a Best Leading Actor Genie. Other notable film credits include: David Cronenberg’s The Dead Zone (1983), Gordon Pinsent’s John and the Missus (1987), Guy Maddin’s Careful (1992), Don McKellar’s Last Night (1998), Léa Pool’s Lost and Delirious (2001) and Aaron Woodley’s Rhinoceros Eyes (2003).

Burroughs currently resides in both Toronto and Oaxaca, Mexico and has a daughter from her marriage to the Lovin’ Spoonful’s Zal Yanovsky. She has won two Canadian Film Awards, five Geminis and three Genies. In 2001 she received the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television’s Earle Grey Award for Outstanding Contribution to Canadian Cinema.

By Andrew McIntosh

Film and video work includes

Notes for a Film About Donna and Gail, 1966 (actor)
The Purse, 1966 (actor)
Wojeck series, 1966 (actor; TV, 1 episode)
The Ernie Game, 1967 (actor)
Dulcima, 1969 (actor; TV)
Black Phoenix, 1970 (actor; TV)
The Psychiatrist: God Bless the Children, 1970 (actor; TV)
Twelve and a Half Cents, 1970 (actor; TV)
Who Only Stand and Wait, 1970 (actor; TV)
Eat Anything, 1971 (actor)
The Hart and Lorne Terrific Hour, 1971 (actor; TV)
A Small Remedy, 1971 (actor: TV)
Conflict Comedy, 1972 (actor)
A Fan’s Notes, 1972 (actor)
Vicky, 1973 (actor)
125 Rooms of Comfort, 1974 (actor)
Angel of the Night, 1974 (actor; TV)
Monkeys in the Attic A Film of Exploding Dreams, 1974 (actor)
My Pleasure is My Business, 1974 (actor)
Rameau’s Nephew By Diderot (Thanx to Dennis Young) By Wilma Schoen, 1974 (actor)
Running Time, 1974 (actor)
If Wishes Were Horses, Teleplay series, 1976 (actor; TV)
Kaleshnikoff, Here to Stay series, 1976 (actor; TV)
Gertrude and Alice in Passing, 1978 (actor)
Out of Our Father’s House, 1978 (actor; TV)
Pioneer Girl, Voices of Early Canada series, 1978 (actor)
The Intruder, 1979 (actor)
The Kidnapping of the President, 1980 (actor)
Heavy Metal, 1981 (voice)
The Grey Fox, 1982 (actor)
The Dead Zone, 1983 (actor)
Out of the Shadows, 1983 (actor; TV)
The Wars, 1983 (actor)
Chautauqua Girl, 1984 (actor; TV)
Gentle Sinners, 1984 (actor)
Neon, An Electric Memoir, 1984 (actor)
Overdrawn at the Memory Bank, 1984 (actor; TV)
The Surrogate, 1984 (actor)
All the Years, 1985 (actor; TV)
Anne of Green Gables, 1985 (actor; TV)
The Care Bears Movie, 1985 (voice)
Evergreen, 1985 (actor; TV)
Ewoks, 1985 (actor; TV)
Generation on Hold, 1985 (narrator; TV)
Seduced, 1985 (actor; TV)
2 Speak, 1986 (actor)
A Judgment in Stone, 1986 (actor)
The Undergraduates, 1986 (actor)
John and the Missus, 1987 (actor)
A Winter Tan, 1987 (co-director with Louise Clark, Aerlyn Weissman, John Frizzell et al.; writer; actor)
I Vant to Be Alone, 1988 (actor)
Inside/Out, 1988 (actor)
Many, Many Monkeys, The Twilight Zone series, 1988 (actor; TV)
Mold Grows on Baby, 1988 (actor)
Taking Care of Terrific, 1988 (actor; TV)
Carnival of Shadows, 1989 (actor)
Final Notice, 1989 (actor; TV)
Food of the Gods II, 1989 (actor)
The Midday Sun, 1989 (actor)
The Top of His Head, 1989 (actor)
Whispers, 1989 (actor)
Road to Avonlea, 1990-1996 (actor; TV)
Distress Signals, 1991 (narrator; TV)
Elizabeth Smart: On the Side of Angels, 1991 (actor)
Careful, 1992 (actor)
Night Owl, 1993 (actor; TV)
Lonesome Dove: The Outlaw Years series, 1995 (actor; TV, 1 episode)
How Dinosaurs Learned to Fly, 1996 (narrator)
The Long Road to Fame, Life & Times series, 1996 (narrator; TV)
Bleeders, 1997 (actor)
Due South series, 1997 (actor; TV, 1 episode)
Elvis Meets Nixon, 1997 (actor; TV)
Platinum, 1997 (actor)
Evidence of Blood, 1998 (actor; TV)
Happy Christmas, Miss King, 1998 (actor; TV)
Last Night, 1998 (actor)
More Tales of the City, 1998 (actor; TV)
Angela Anaconda, 1999-2003 (voice; TV)
Cover Me, 1999 (actor; TV)
Have Mercy, 2000 (actor; TV)
Further Tales of the City, 2001 (actor; TV)
Lost and Delirious, 2001 (actor)
On Their Knees, 2001 (actor)
Smallville series, 2001 (actor; TV, 1 episode)
A Guy Thing, 2002 (actor)
Night’s Noontime, 2002 (actor)
Washed Up, 2002 (actor; TV)
Dead Like Me series, 2003 (actor; TV, 1 episode)
Just Cause series, 2003 (actor; TV, 1 episode)
Made in Canada series, 2003 (actor; TV, 1 episode)
Mystery Ink, 2003 (actor)
The Pilot’s Wife, 2003 (actor; TV)
The Republic of Love, 2003 (actor)
Rhinoceros Eyes, 2003 (actor)
Willard, 2003 (actor)
Cavedweller, 2004 (actor)
Going the Distance, 2004 (actor)
The Limb Salesman, 2004 (actor)
Snow, 2004 (actor; TV)
Fever Pitch, 2005 (actor)
King’s Ransom, 2005 (actor)
Walter Ego, 2005 (actor; TV)

Note: Updated to June 30, 2005

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