Eric House

Eric House, actor (born 1921 in Toronto, ON; died 21 March 2004 in Toronto). Eric House, one of Canada's most versatile character actors, performed on Broadway, across the US, Great Britain and Canada.

Eric House, actor (born 1921 in Toronto, ON; died 21 March 2004 in Toronto). Eric House, one of Canada's most versatile character actors, performed on Broadway, across the US, Great Britain and Canada. He appeared in world premieres in New York and London, performed in more than 100 television specials and countless series, and worked in films, radio dramas and commercials. A member of Andrew Allen's stock company of CBC Radio actors in the early days, he appeared in Sunshine Sketches (1952-53), English Canada's first television series. He performed for 10 seasons at Stratford, half-a-dozen at the Shaw Festival, starred on virtually every important Toronto stage and played every major regional theatre in Canada from the 1950s to the 1980s.

Eric House came to the stage after serving 5 years as a medic in England during World War II, where he spent all his leaves in London theatres. Returning to Canada, he enrolled at Trinity College, University of Toronto, and discovered the Hart House Theatre, where Robert Gill ruled. He acted in student productions directed by Gill and became part of a circle of emerging theatrical talent that included William Hutt, Don Harron, Donald Sutherland, Kate Reid, Ted Follows and others.

He graduated from the University of Toronto in 1950 with honors in geography, and his big break came in 1951 when he was asked to join the Canadian Repertory Theatre in Ottawa, which had in its company Christopher Plummer and William Shatner. The company had a policy of staging a new play every week, which meant rehearsing one play all day and performing another at night. At $40 a week, it was rigorous work and formalized Eric House's career in theatre. In 1953 he moved onto the Stratford stage, where he played leading roles including the much-acclaimed Tyrone Guthrie productions of Gilbert and Sullivan. H.M.S. Pinafore was invited to New York in 1960, and Eric House was offered lucrative American contracts from theatrical agents. But unlike his contemporaries Plummer and Shatner, he turned them down, preferring to remain in Canada.

During the 1954 and 1955 seasons Eric House was a permanent member of Toronto's Crest Theatre Company, which was an important breeding ground for professional theatre. He appeared in the film version of Oedipus Rex (1957), directed by Tyrone Guthrie, and Don Harron's musical version of Anne of Green Gables (1956), which was broadcast on CBC-TV. He also was in Budge Crawley's series "RCMP" (1959). Other television credits include guest roles in "Adventures in Rainbow Country," the original "Jake and the Kid" (1961-63) series, "Seeing Things," " Street Legal," and "The Twilight Zone." Film credits include Paul Almond's Act of the Heart (1970), Highpoint (1984), Strange Brew (1983), High-Ballin' (1978), A Star Is Lost! (1974) and the rarely seen cult favourite Candy Mountain (1988).

Along with Lloyd Bochner, Douglas Campbell, William Hutt and William Needles, Eric House was an original member of the Canadian Equity Advisory Committee, formed in 1957.