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mourning Goldie Semple

Many tears today – mine, and those of my friend Chris Tyrell, who called from California when he heard the news, and I’m sure tears from everyone who knows something about the theatre in this country. One of Canada’s most beautiful and accomplished actresses, Goldie Semple, died yesterday at the age of 56. Unbelievably – no, not unbelievably, if you knew Goldie – she was on stage all summer long, working at the Shaw Festival where she’d spent many successful years. As ill as she was with cancer, nothing kept her from her work.

Goldie and I worked on three or four shows together in Vancouver in the 70’s, including the musical comedy “The Club,” in which we played men in a turn of the century men’s club, dressed in tuxedos and top hats, I with a moustache drawn in with eyeliner and Goldie with a distinguished 5 o’clock shadow. She was impossibly beautiful even as a man, tall, elegant and expressive, carrying herself like royalty, always. Later we performed in Chekhov’s “Three Sisters,” she as the unhappy Masha – “I am in mourning for my life” – and I as the vile wife of brother Andrey. Goldie was unforgettable, so intelligent and desolate, tossing her books aside in despair, then wracked by her illicit love. In rehearsals and at each performance, she was the essence of professionalism. I don’t ever remember her getting sick or forgetting a line; she was dependable, solid, 100% engaged.
I left the stage not long after that, and along with many other Vancouver stalwarts, Goldie left Vancouver for the east – Stratford and then Shaw. She was that rare actor who, I think, was never, not once, out of work for more than a brief hiatus. We met on occasion after shows, had lunch or dinner together, talked about our children and our work, now so different. What a pleasure to watch her on stage through the years, statuesque, regal, the way she turned her head, the flash of her eyes, the perfect gesture of a hand – just, simply, her astounding beauty. She made me want to go back on stage, to work with her again.
Goldie Semple was a kind, loving woman and a wonderful actress. We are in mourning, now, for her life – for what was, and for what might have, should have, been.



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I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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