Ac­claimed Cana­dian theatre star Richard McMil­lan dies


Cel­e­brated Cana­dian theatre ac­tor Richard McMil­lan has died at the age of 65.

McMil­lan died on Sun­day in Toronto af­ter a long strug­gle with thy­roid can­cer.

Born on March 20, 1951, the ac­tor from the town of Beaver­ton, Ont., had a lengthy stage ca­reer on both sides of the At­lantic and was able to put his stamp on iconic char­ac­ters.

McMil­lan was the first ac­tor to por­tray the vil­lain­ous Scar in the Cana­dian pro­duc­tion of Dis­ney’s “The Lion King’’ staged at the Princess of Wales Theatre in Toronto.

He also cre­ated the role of the wiz­ard Saru­man in the world pre­miere of the stage adap­ta­tion of “The Lord of the Rings,’’ and starred as Un­cle Arthur in the Cana­dian pre­miere of “War Horse.’’ Both were also staged at the Princess of Wales.

McMil­lan also ap­peared as Fa­ther O’Don­nell in An­drew Lloyd Web­ber’s “The Boys in the Pho­to­graph’’ at Toronto’s Royal Alexan­dra Theatre.

The ac­tor was per­haps best known for his work in Brian Mac­don­ald’s pro­duc­tions of Gil­bert and Sul­li­van light op­eras at the Strat­ford Festival, which were filmed for the CBC.

His por­trayal of Poo Bah in “The Mikado’’ took the ac­tor to Broad­way as well as the Old Vic Theatre in Lon­don.

McMil­lan spent 11 sea­sons at Strat­ford, which in­cluded roles in “King Lear,’’ “The Govern­ment In­spec­tor,’’ “Twelfth Night,’’ “Julius Cae­sar’’ and “As You Like It.’’

McMil­lan also per­formed at the Shaw Festival, and in re­cent years ap­peared in pro­duc­tions at Toronto’s Tar­ragon Theatre, in­clud­ing “An En­emy of the Peo­ple’’ and “Moliere.’’

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