Timothy Findley, writer, actor, playwright (born at Toronto 30 Oct 1930, died Provence, France, 20 June 2002).
Timothy Findley, writer, actor, playwright (born at Toronto 30 Oct 1930, died Provence, France, 20 June 2002). During his first career, as an actor, Findley was a charter member of the Stratford Shakespearean Festival (1953), and appeared in the first production of Thornton Wilder's The Matchmaker (1954). He published his first novel, The Last of the Crazy People, in 1967 and the second, The Butterfly Plague, in 1969. The Wars was published in 1977 (it would appear as a National Film Board feature, with a script by the author, in 1983) and won the author a Governor General's Award and an international reputation. Famous Last Words appeared in 1981, followed by Not Wanted on the Voyage (1984), The Telling of Lies (1989), Headhunter (1993) and The Piano Man's Daughter (1995), You Went Away (1996), Dust to Dust (short fiction, 1997) and Pilgrim (1999).
The Wars depicts the experiences of a young Ontario man during WWI; Famous Last Words deals with the life of a fictional man of letters during the rise of fascism and WWII. Not Wanted on the Voyage handles the myth of Noah with considerable wit and invention; The Telling of Lies is a mystery. Headhunter pictures a Toronto replete with upper-class violence and evil; The Piano Man's Daughter, set in 1939, focuses on a young piano tuner forced to face the questions of his father's identity and his mother's madness. Inside Memory: Pages from a Writer's Workbook (1991) is a collection of personal journal entries and autobiographical reflections. Findley's last novel was Spadework, set in Stratford, Ont., and published in 2001.
Among Findley's plays performed onstage were Can You See Me Yet? (1976), The Stillborn Lover (1993) and his last drama, Elizabeth Rex (2002), which won him another Governor General's Award. He also wrote the TV scripts for The National Dream (1974, written with his lifetime companion, William Whitehead) and The Whiteoaks of Jalna (1971-72). The Trials of Ezra Pound premiered at the Stratford Festival in 2001 and Shadows was staged in August 2002 at the Studio Theatre. Findley was working on The Trojan Women for the Stratford Festival when he died.
Findley received numerous awards for his work. An Officer of the Order of Canada (1986), he was made a Chevalier dans L'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government in 1996. The City of Toronto Book Award, the (Ontario) Trillium Award, a Mystery Writers of America "Edgar", 2 Canadian Authors Association awards, the Toronto Arts Award in Writing and Publishing, and several honorary doctorates have been among the honours bestowed upon him. In 1986-87 he presided over the Canadian division of PEN International. He was active in anti-censorship and other causes, and in 1991 was named to the Order of Ontario.