‘Corner Gas’ star Janet Wright dead at 71
Award-winning stage and screen actress Janet Wright, best known for her portrayal of the long-suffering matriarch on “Corner Gas,” has died, according to CTV, which aired the long-running sitcom.
Wright played Emma Leroy on the hit Canadian series, which ended its six-season run in 2009 and returned with a big-screen adaptation in 2014.
Wright’s character Emma was the wife of Oscar Leroy, played by Eric Peterson, and mother to Brent, portrayed by series creator and star Brent Butt.
“Janet was like no other person I’ve ever met,” Butt said in a statement.
“She had a giant wit, a giant heart, and was one of the strongest human beings to ever stride around this planet.”
The series won the 2007 Gemini for best ensemble comedy performance.
Born in England on March 8, 1945, Wright and her family relocated to Canada and eventually settled in Saskatoon at a young age.
Wright was the co-founder of Saskatoon’s Persephone Theatre, and performed at virtually every major theatre company in Canada.
She had been affiliated with the Vancouver Arts Club Theater since the early 1970s, and also directed for many major theatre companies across Canada, including productions at Ontario’s Stratford Festival.
“Janet was an artist on an uncompromising search for the truth in all its unvarnished beauty,” said Stratford Festival artistic director Antoni Cimolino, who directed Wright as Ma Joad in the 2011 production of “The Grapes of Wrath.”
“She was a profoundly talented actress, director and champion for the importance of the arts. I will never forget her passion and forever be inspired by her commitment to our work.”
She won the best actress Genie Award in 1992 for “Bordertown Cafe,” and won the best supporting actress in a dramatic program or miniseries award in 2003 for “Betrayed.”
Her film credits include “The Perfect Storm,” opposite George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg, and TV appearances on series “Dark Angel,” “The King of Kensington” and “The Beachcombers.