Eric Peterson

Eric Neal Peterson, stage, film and television actor (b at Indian Head, Sask 2 Oct 1946). Eric Peterson was educated at the University of Saskatchewan and University of British Columbia, and began his acting career in Vancouver at Tamahnous Theatre (1971), a collective theatre company that he helped to establish. Peterson is recognized as one of the early pioneers of the collective theatre movement in Canada during the 1970s. His fresh, energetic, natural acting style has made him popular with Canadian audiences, and he continues to be a mainstay of Canadian television.

In 1974 he moved to Toronto, where he joined Theatre Passe Muraille and appeared in several collective documentary productions, including The Farm Show (1972) and most notably 1837: The Farmers' Revolt (1973), in which he played principal roles.

In 1976 he began working with John Gray, a playwright/director and fellow alumnus from Tamahnous Theatre, to create his most critically successful work, Billy Bishop Goes to War, a two-man show (Gray appeared as the narrator and pianist) in which he played more than a dozen characters. The stage play premiered in Vancouver in 1978 and went on to tour internationally for several years, acclaimed on Broadway, in London's West End, and at the Edinburgh Festival Mainstage. In September 1982 the CBC broadcast a televised adaptation, which earned Peterson an ACTRA award nomination for his performance. In 1998, Peterson reprised his performance at Canadian Stage in Toronto and later at the National Arts Centre (NAC) in Ottawa. In October 2000 he appeared in Hysteria at CanStage and in January 2001 he performed in Clout at the NAC.

During the 1980s, Peterson established himself as a film and television actor. Until recently, his most prominent television character was left-wing lawyer Leon Robinovitch on the long-running CBC drama Street Legal (1986-94), for which he won three Gemini awards for best actor in a drama series. His guest performance in the children's TV program Sesame Park (1972-2002) brought him another Gemini Award in 2001. From 2004 to 2006 he was seen as Judge Malone on the George F. Walker CBC drama This Is Wonderland. He appeared as the irascible Oscar Leroy on the hit CTV sitcom Corner Gas (2004-09). The cast, including Peterson, won a Gemini Award in 2007 for best ensemble performance. In 2008 he received the Award of Excellence from ACTRA Toronto and in 2009 he was honoured with the Earle Grey Award. He was named a member of the Order of Canada in 2010.

Eric Peterson continues to appear in Canadian television, in episodes of The Ron James Show (2009), Republic of Doyle (2010), Murdoch Mysteries (2010) and Dan for Mayor (2011). Again with John Gray on piano, Peterson stars in a filmed version of the acclaimed stage play Billy Bishop Goes to War (2011), where as Bishop, now a senior citizen, he reminisces about his wartime accomplishments and experiences..