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Christie, Robert

Robert Christie as Sir John A. Macdonald in Riel.
Robert Christie as Sir John A. Macdonald in Riel. Photo credit: Toronto Public Library.

Actor/director born in Toronto, Ontario in 1913, and died there in 1996. He received a B.A. from the University of Toronto in 1934. He moved to England in 1936, and acted at the Old Vic, amongst other venues, then served in the Canadian army in WWII.

Robert Christie is closely associated with the rise of a Canadian professional theatre, having participated in the Dominion Drama Festival in 1933, CBC radio drama, and the New Play Society. His roles for the New Play Society include Aikenhead in Morley Callaghan's Going Home in 1950, and John A. Macdonald in John Coulter's Riel, which he went on to play on stage, screen and radio. He also played Bagshaw in Mavor Moore's Sunshine Town in 1955, and appeared in the infamous Canadian revue, Spring Thaw

He was part of the Stratford Festival ensemble during its first four years, notably as Buckingham in Richard III (1953), and as Caesar in Julius Caesar (1954). On Broadway he played in the Stratford production of Marlowe's Tamburlaine in 1956, and Robertson Davies' Love and Libel in 1960. In 1967 he starred in the CBC TV series Hatch's Mill.

In his later years he taught at Ryerson in Toronto. He was the father of five children, including performer Dinah Christie by his first wife, Margot.

Source: Herbert Whittaker, Oxford Companion to Canadian Theatre. Eds. Eugene Benson and L.W. Conolly. Toronto: Oxford UP, 1989.

Last updated 2020-11-04