In retirement, Anne Murray gets behind a good cause

TORONTO – Anne Murray is one of Canada’s most famous singers — but don’t expect to hear her sing anytime soon. The “Snowbird” star said Tuesday she’s enjoying retirement after a career that spanned four decades.

“I don’t miss it at all. Not at all,” she said. “I get to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ every now and then to some of my friends and that’s about it.”

During an appearance on Global’s The Morning Show, Murray reflected on her days, when she was thrust into the spotlight and quickly became one of the country’s top-selling artists.

“I wasn’t all that young,” she recalled. “I did go to university and I did teach school for a year. I had my feet planted fairly firmly on the ground when it all began.”

Murray, 67, said fame was difficult to handle. “It’s tough going because you’re so busy, you don’t have time,” she said. “You don’t have a life at all. You sacrifice a lot, family wise, but you get on this bandwagon and you can’t get off.”

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The Nova Scotia native, who nows lives north of Toronto, admitted she had feelings of guilt throughout her career.

“It doesn’t go away. You harken back to it and think, ‘If I could only have done things differently’ — but I couldn’t,” Murray said. “I was doing the best I knew how.”

She also talked about her decision to turn down an offer to perform the Oscar-nominated song “Blame Canada” at the Academy Awards.

” My name was in the song so I thought, ‘That’s not appropriate, get someone else to sing it,'” Murray said. (Robin Williams did the honours.) “They talk about ‘that bitch Anne Murray.’ My kids thought that was so awesome.”

These days, Murray is lending her name to a good cause rather than laughter and applause.

“When I decided to retire I thought I should align myself with a charity that can use my high profile,” she said. A relationship with Colon Cancer Canada began and Murray has been hosting an annual golf tournament to raise funds and awareness.

Murray said an average of 423 Canadians are diagnosed with colorectal cancer every week. ” Too many of them are dying,” she said.

“We’re trying to get people tested. What amazes me is the number of people who are scared to get tested. It’s nothing. I’ve had four of them and it’s a piece of cake… so please get tested.”

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This year’s Anne Murray Charity Golf Classic takes place June 25 at Angus Glen Golf Club in Markham. Guests include astronaut Roberta Bondar, actor Alan Thicke and singer Tom Cochrane.