William Hutt, longtime actor with the Stratford Festival of Canada and a mainstay of the Canadian theater community, died June 27 of leukemia in Stratford, Ontario. He was 87.
As a founding company member, director and actor, he participated in 39 seasons and 130 productions.
Among his notable roles were King Lear, the Fool to Peter Ustinov’s Lear, Titus Andronicus, Falstaff, Richard II, Jaques, Prospero and Tartuffe. He also gained notice for his portrayal of James Tyrone in “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” — opposite Jessica Tandy in 1980 and opposite Martha Henry in 1994 and 1995, on stage and in film.
He was often remembered for his perf as Lady Bracknell in Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest.”
Born in Toronto, Hutt served in WWII as a member of the Canadian Field Ambulance in Italy, France, Belgium and Holland.
After returning home he attended the U. of Toronto. He started his acting career at a Bracebridge, Ont., summer stock theater and was spotted by Amelia Hall, then artistic director of the Canadian Repertory Theater, who made him an associate director.
Hutt was one of the actors invited into the inaugural of the Shakespeare festival in the cornfields of Southwestern Ontario in 1953.
While Hutt performed in New York, Toronto, and London, England, and also served as artistic director of the Grand Theater in London, Ont., he called Stratford home for most of his life. The bridge that leads over the Avon River near his home was named in his honour in 2000.