Charmion King

In the first of many performances at the CREST THEATRE in Toronto, she appeared with Kate REID and Amelia Hall in Chekhov's Three Sisters. She was at the STRATFORD SHAKESPEAREAN FESTIVAL for several seasons, notably as Hermione in a 1959 production of Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale.

<em>Arsenic and Old Lace</em>
Kate Reid (left), Charmion King and Davis Gaines in the Marlene Smith production of Arsenic and Old Lace (photo by Garth Scheuer).

King, Charmion

Charmion King, actor (b at Toronto 25 Jul 1925; d at Toronto 6 Jan 2007). Charmion King attended Bishop Strachan School in Forest Hill and the University of Toronto (BA 1947, University College), where she drew critical acclaim in the title role of Bernard Shaw's Saint Joan at Hart House Theatre; her performance was described by the Globe and Mail as "luminous." In the summer of 1948, she helped found the Straw Hat Players in Muskoka, Ont, along with such established names as Donald and Murray DAVIS, Eric HOUSE, Ted Follows and Barbara Hamilton. With her remarkable, husky voice and powerful stage presence, she went on to become a "grande dame" of Canadian theatre.

In the first of many performances at the CREST THEATRE in Toronto, she appeared with Kate REID and Amelia Hall in Chekhov's Three Sisters. She was at the STRATFORD SHAKESPEAREAN FESTIVAL for several seasons, notably as Hermione in a 1959 production of Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale. In 1960 she was directed by Tyrone GUTHRIE on Broadway in Robertson DAVIES' Love and Libel. Another highlight of Charmion King's stage career was David FRENCH's backstage comedy Jitters, where she originated the role of Jessica Logan, a tempestuous diva attempting a comeback. The play was first produced in Toronto in 1979, played in New Haven, Conn, the same year and was revived in Toronto in 1986, with King again starring.

In 1990, King again appeared with Kate Reid, this time in a revival of Arsenic and Old Lace at Hart House. In 1998, she starred with daughter Leah Pinsent at TARRAGON THEATRE in Janet Munsil's Emphysema (A Love Story) and in 2000 she was in the FACTORY THEATRE production of Claudia Dey's Beaver. SOULPEPPER THEATRE COMPANY cast her in, among other productions, a staging of of Noël Coward's Present Laughter in 2001 and Thornton Wilder's Our Town in 2006.

Charmion King appeared in a number of TV series, including The Newsroom, Twitch City, and Wind at My Back, as well as in Anne of Green Gables, in which she played the curmudgeonly Aunt Josephine. Radio work included Jesse's Story (1985 ACTRA Award) and Rumours & Boarders (CBC, 1992-98) while movies included Nobody Waved Goodbye (1964), Don't Let the Angels Fall (1968), Who Has Seen the Wind (1977) and the thriller Shadow Dancing (1988).

In 2001, Charmion King received the Barbara Hamilton Memorial Award for excellence and professionalism in the performing arts. In 2005 she and her husband Gordon PINSENT were awarded life membership in the Canadian Actors' Equity Association.