Blast Radius

Wendy Crewson given a star on the Walk of Fame

Rosedaler takes the opportunity to advocate for more women in film, television

PHOTO COURTESY GEORGE PIMENTEL SHINING STAR: Actor Wendy Crewson, who’s career has spanned four decades, accepts her star on the Canadian Walk of Fame, Nov. 7.
SHINING STAR: Actor Wendy Crewson, who’s career has spanned four decades, accepts her star on the Canadian Walk of Fame, Nov. 7.

Rosedale’s own first lady has been honoured with a star on the Canadian Walk of Fame.

Of course, I’m talking about Canadian actor, Wendy Crewson, who played Harrison Ford’s better half in Air Force One back in ‘97.

But that shouldn’t be the first role that comes to mind mentioning her name, nor the second.

What should come to mind is Crewson’s career of portraying strong women — strong Canadian women.

She stepped inside Sue Rodriguez’s shoes, the British Columbian who fought for her right to die against the B.C. courts, as she struggled with ALS. Crewson’s tackled human rights issues as former United Nations High Commissioner, Louise Arbour, the Quebec native who indicted Serbian potentate Slobodan Milošević for war crimes. And there’s Lorraine Evanshen, who helped her husband, former CFL star, Terry Evanshen, through his rehabilitation after a horrific car accident left him at death’s door.

It’s no wonder that in a career that’s spanned four decades she was honoured by the Walk of Fame.

And I had the honour to chat with her about her recent accolade, one she first learned about while in Italy with 20 close friends, and manager Perry Zimel.

“We were about to sit down for a wonderful dinner on the terrace and (Zimel)  announced it,” she recalls. “I thought, ‘Oh, it’s the prelude to a joke here’, and then, no, it was serious. It was quite amazing.”

Sworn to secrecy over the next few months, until finally the ceremony rolled around, she took the opportunity to raise awareness for gender parity in the film and television industry in her acceptance speech.

“I sort of feel sometimes, when you’re given the chance to speak to a wider audience, I like to be able to say something that I think is important,” Crewson admits. “Right now, I think the issue for a lot of us, or half of the population, is we finally have gender parity at the highest level of government.

“If we can do it there, it’s certainly something we can do in the film industry on the screen and behind the camera, making sure that women are represented in the director’s chairs and the writers’ room — that the female point of view is represented on the screen.”

Former executive director of ACTRA, Brian Topp, presented her with the award, and fellow inductees included Michael Bublé, Don Cherry, Ron MacLean, Silken Laumann, Lawrence Hill and Lorne Greene — posthumously.

It was a great retreat for the 59-year-old, as it’s been a busy year.

Crewson appeared on the SuperChannel serials Slasher and Forgive Me, as well as in the acclaimed films Room, which is hearing early Oscar buzz, and the forthcoming Into The Forest with Ellen Paige.

There’s also her regular role of Dr. Dana Kinney on Saving Hope, another strong woman, grappling with her own “adverse circumstances”. Kinney has cancer.

Best of all, Crewson’s been able to work in the city she loves.

“I love being here in the city — work in the city I live in, because that’s always a feat because you’re endlessly on location somewhere else,” she says.

As the year winds down, Crewson admittedly will have more time available.

“As of Dec. 11, I’m unemployed. You know it’s ever thus — the actor’s life,” she admits. “(It’s) endlessly piecing together lots of work that actually miraculously turns into a whole year’s worth of employment, with any luck.

“I have great faith that things (will happen), as they do when the phone rings, and off you go on another project.”

I doubt she’ll be idle for long, as I’ve enjoyed her work as much as many fans of Canadian film and television have.

In the meantime, she’s going to enjoy the beautiful colours the Rosedale Valley has to offer.

“I’m so looking forward to it. My favourite place. I love walking down into the ravine and down to the Brickworks,” she says. “It just clears my head and I think how amazing that we have this in the middle of our city.”

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