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Theatre community mourns death of veteran actor and stage director John Neville

Posted by on 23/05/2019

TORONTO – John Neville, a veteran Canadian actor and stage director who appeared in a multitude of productions, including the hit TV series “The X-Files,” died Saturday at the age of 86.

Neville, who was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, died in Toronto surrounded by family, said a statement from the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, where Neville worked as an artistic director in the 1980s.

Neville appeared in dozens of movies, television shows and theatre productions during a career that spanned six decades.

His career experienced a big lift when he was cast in the title role in the 1988 film “The Adventures of Baron Munchausen.” Although the film was a financial failure, Neville’s performance was well-received and it led to a plethora of film and television roles.

Perhaps the one that gave him the most prominence came in the ’90s when he landed the recurring role of the “The Well-Manicured Man” in the “The X-Files.”

He also did stints as artistic director for Edmonton’s Citadel Theatre in the 1970s and of Halifax’s Neptune Theatre from 1978 to 1983.

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“John Neville was a superb actor, an outstanding director and a terrific artistic leader of our Festival,” Des McAnuff, the current artistic director of the Stratford festival, said in a statement.

“His charisma and charm were matched by the generosity of his spirit.”

Neville was born in England, emigrating to Canada in 1972 and later he became a citizen.

He was named a member of the Order of Canada in 2006 for his work in Canadian theatre and drama. He became an officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1965.

Neville received one Gemini nomination in 1999 in the Best Performance by an Actor in a Continuing Leading Dramatic Role category for his performance in the 1998 TV series “Emily of New Moon”

He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Caroline, six children and six grandchildren.

A private funeral is to be held immediately and plans for a memorial are to be announced in the new year, the statement said.

In the interview below, Neville shares his thoughts on his career, politics, his challenges and fears, and why he loved living in Canada. 

 

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