Shaun Johnston

 Shaun Johnston, actor (born at Ponoka, Alta 5 Nov 1958). Shaun Johnston grew up in Ponoka, about an hour's drive from Edmonton, where he earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in the University of Alberta's selective drama program.

Johnston's first professional forays were in Alberta's thriving theatre scene. In 1993, he made his debut feature film appearance as a loose-living biker in William Hornecker's dramedy, Two Brothers, a Girl and a Gun. The role won him an Alberta Film & Television Award for best actor.

Numerous film and television parts followed, including credits on some of Canada's most popular TV series. Johnston was Jake Trumper on Jake and the Kid, played Fire Marshal Sid Flemming in Da Vinci's Inquest, and appeared frequently on Traders, a highly regarded show about investment bankers. In made-for-television movies, Johnston appeared in Heart of the Sun (1998), a period picture about an Alberta farm wife unable to bear children because of a past trauma; Mayerthorpe (2008), which won a best TV movie GEMINI AWARD for its depiction of the shooting death of 4 Mounties; and 2 roles opposite Christopher PLUMMER: in the family film The Dinosaur Hunter (2000) and the Cold War drama Agent of Influence (2002).

Johnston inhabited the American west in a 2000 remake of the classic High Noon, and appeared in September Dawn (2007), which portrays the 1857 massacre of settlers travelling through the Western US. For his performance as the wagon train captain who led the pioneers into an attack by Mormon fanatics, Johnston once again won the Alberta Film & Television Award for best actor. He also played Colonel Nelson Miles in Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (2007), an HBO film about First Nations assimilation in the context of the Battle of Little Bighorn.

In 2007 Shaun Johnston took an ongoing role in Heartland, a CBC-TV series based on the Heartland books by Lauren Brooke. The show fills the CBC's traditional Sunday night family slot with a drama about life on a horse ranch in Alberta's Rocky Mountains.

In Heartland, Johnston plays Jack Bartlett, a crusty westerner who must raise his granddaughter Amy (Amber Marshall) following the accidental death of the girl's mother. Jack is helped by Amy's older sister Lou (Michelle Morgan), who decides to forgo her high-achieving life in Manhattan to take care of abused horses, her mother's vocation. Johnston plays Grandpa Jack as a taciturn yet sensitive man with zero tolerance for phony behaviour. Johnston received a Gemini nomination for his work on Heartland's first season.

An actor who incarnates a North American western archetype, Shaun Johnston would have been at home in Gary Cooper, John Wayne and Glenn FORD pictures of other eras. Reassuringly old school, his Jack Bartlett stands for home, honesty, and uncomplaining acceptance of whatever cards life hands him.

Off-screen, Johnston is an avid hockey player and guitar player who co-founded the Shadow Theatre in Edmonton. He fundraises for the Actors' Fund of Canada, and the mentoring program Big Brothers & Big Sisters in Calgary. In 2011, Johnston received the prestigious David Billington Award from the Alberta Media Production Industries Association.

For ACTRA national president Ferne Downey, "Shaun Johnston is a gifted actor and a bona fide Canadian TV and film star. The breadth of his resumé speaks eloquently to that - from the lead role in Jake and the Kid to family head Jack Bartlett in Heartland, Shaun has always found a creative way to make his character deeply rooted in humanity and completely compelling to watch."