January 25, 2017 8:19 am
Updated: January 25, 2017 8:26 am

Acclaimed actor, director and playwright Joy Coghill-Thorne dead at 90

Actor, director and playwright Joy Coghill-Thorne is presented with the Governor General's Performing Arts award by Gov. Gen. Adrienne Clarkson during a ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa Friday November 1, 2002. The acclaimed Canadian actor, director and playwright has died at age 90.

Fred Chartrand / The Canadian Press

Acclaimed Canadian actor, director and playwright Joy Coghill-Thorne has died at age 90.

She had been admitted to St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver after suffering massive heart failure and died on Jan. 20.

Coghill-Thorne was born in Findlater, Sask., on May 13, 1926, and grew to be a trailblazer in the Canadian theatre community.

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She created Holiday Theatre in 1953, which is billed as Canada’s first professional children’s theatre.

Coghill-Thorne was the first woman to hold the position of artistic director at the Vancouver Playhouse from 1967 to ’69, and more than 40 years later she founded Western Gold, a company for senior Canadian actors.

One of her best-known works as a playwright is “Song of This Place” about legendary Canadian artist Emily Carr.

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She was inducted as a member of the Order of Canada in 1991, and received a Governor General’s Award for the Performing Arts in 2002.

In 2001, Coghill-Thorne co-founded the Performing Arts Lodge Vancouver which provides affordable housing and a network of support for veterans of the city’s performing arts communities.

Coghill-Thorne is survived by her three children, Debra, Gordon and David, and her grandchildren Casey and Lucy.

© 2017 The Canadian Press

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