Tom McCamus | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Tom McCamus

Tom McCamus

  Tom McCamus, actor (born at Winnipeg 25 July 1955). Tom McCamus attended Oakridge High School in London, Ont and received a bachelor of fine arts from the University of Windsor in 1977. From 1978 to 1980 he was a member of the Young Company at the Grand Theatre in London, when William HUTT was artistic director. He impressed Hutt from the moment of his audition and then distinguished himself, in a group that included exciting new talents such as Stephen Ouimette and Robert LaChance, by playing Andrew Aguecheek in Twelfth Night (1978) with inventive audacity.

His good timing, crisp baritone delivery, and physical dexterity equipped him well for comedy, though he was not well-served by his director years later at the STRATFORD FESTIVAL when he turned Richard III (2002) into a stumblebum who fell out of a tree for his first soliloquy and later tripped over his long coronation cloak. However, when he has an astute director he can be poetic in comedy and drama, as he showed with his Vladimir opposite Ouimette's Estragon in Brian Bedford's accomplished production of Waiting For Godot (1996; revived 1998) at Stratford.

Although his record in the classics is a little uneven, McCamus has a wide range - having played such diverse roles as Peter Pan, Androcles, Macheath, King Arthur, and Hamlet - and he has shown special force in roles that call on him to be rancid or bitingly ironic. His sensitive, broodingly cynical Edmund in O'Neill's Long Day's Journey Into Night (1994, 1995) at Stratford (in a cast that included William Hutt, Martha HENRY, Peter Donaldson, and Martha BURNS) was particularly striking. Besides the Stratford (1994-98; 2007) and SHAW festivals (1981-88), he has appeared in large and small theatres across the country, especially at the Manitoba Theatre Centre, the NATIONAL ARTS CENTRE, the Arts Club in Toronto, Phoenix Theatre, the TARRAGON Theatre, Theatre Plus (1990-93), NIGHTWOOD THEATRE, and the ROYAL ALEXANDRA THEATRE. He won a DORA AWARD for best actor in 1991 for his role in Abundance (Theatre Plus), and was nominated for another Dora for playing the bourgeois husband, accustomed to his privileges and securities, in Nightwood's two-hander Mathilde (2006), opposite Martha Burns. In 2010 he returned to the Stratford stage to play Captain Hook in Peter Pan and Valmont in Dangerous Liaisons.

Tom McCamus's appearances in television and film have also brought him wide acclaim. In David Wellington's I Love A Man In Uniform (1993) he played Henry Adler (a bank employee who gets himself into trouble by identifying too closely with his role as a cop in a TV show), winning a GENIE Award for best actor. He was later nominated for two other Genies: best actor again for his Edmund in Wellington's film version of the Stratford Long Day's Journey Into Night (1996) and best supporting actor for his turn in Atom EGOYAN's Oscar-nominated The Sweet Hereafter (1997). The ensemble of the Egoyan movie was honoured with an award from the National Board of Review. Notable credits have been his roles in Robert LEPAGE's Possible Worlds (2000), the dark comedy Siblings (2004), six episodes of "Mutant X" (2001-03), Ken Finkleman's miniseries At the Hotel (2006) and Shake Hands with the Devil (2007). A career highlight was his performance as Walter Gretzky (father of the great hockey player Wayne GRETZKY) in Waking Up Wally (2005). The role won him both a GEMINI Award and an ACTRA Award for best actor.