The Canadian actor had a long career in theater, television and film, beginning in 1972 with a stage production of “Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris.” In 1978, he acted opposite a 15-year-old Michael J. Fox in the sitcom “Leo and Me,” and had notable roles in movies such as “Crossbar” in 1979, “The Wars” and “Cross Country” in 1983, “Much Ado About Nothing” in 1987 and 1989’s “Millennium.”
Carver made his U.S. theater debut in 1979 as Ariel in “The Tempest” alongside Anthony Hopkins, and spent much of the 1980s as a member of Canada’s Stratford Festival company. There, he played Edmund Tyrone in “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” in 1980, the Pirate King in “The Pirates of Penzance” in 1985, Hamlet in both “Hamlet” and “Rozencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead” in 1986 and the Master of Ceremonies in a 1987 production of “Cabaret,” to name a few.
In 1993, Carver starred on Broadway alongside Chita Rivera in “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” which won him a Tony award for best actor in a musical. He was nominated once again in 1999 for his role in “Parade.” Carver continued to work up until 2017, playing Tevye in “Fiddler on the Roof” in 2000, Edgar in Stratford Festival’s “King Lear” in 2004, Jacques in “As You Like It” in 2010, Merlin and King Pellinore in “Camelot” and Pontius Pilate in “Jesus Christ Superstar” in 2011, in addition to the roles of Feste in “Twelfth Night” and Rowley in “The School for Scandal” in 2017.
“Everyone in Stratford is devastated by this tragic news,” Stratford Festival artistic director Antoni Cimolino said in a statement. “He was the best of us and represented the best in us. He was singular: an original in every sense. And yet his heart was so big it encompassed us all and made us one. Our thoughts are with his family and all who loved him.”
Carver is survived by his siblings Vicki Stanley, Frankie Reekie, Randy Carver and Shawn Carver, along with many nieces, nephews, grand-nieces and grand-nephews.