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William Ian DeWitt Hutt, CC, O.Ont, MM (May 2, 1920June 27, 2007) was a Canadianmarker actor of stage, television and film. Hutt's distinguished career spanned more than fifty years and won him many accolades and awards. While his base throughout his career remained at the Stratford Festival in Stratford, Ontariomarker, he appeared on the stage in Londonmarker, New Yorkmarker and across Canada.

Early life

Hutt was born in Torontomarker, Ontariomarker, the second of three children. A graduate of Toronto's illustrious Vaughan Road Collegiate Institute (now Vaughan Road Academymarker), he served five years as a medic during World War II, receiving a Military Medal for "bravery in the field". After the war, he received his BA in 1948 from Trinity Collegemarker at the University of Torontomarker, and subsequently joined the Stratford Festival of Canada for its first season in 1953.

About his early life, theatre director Richard Nielsen said, "As a young man, he was openly gay at a time when being openly gay was a very dangerous identity. He shunned violence, but he volunteered as a medic in the Second World War, and he later won the Military Medal for his services; and, this I found most fascinating: he committed to a career in theatre when such a thing as the 'Canadian theatre' simply did not exist."

Acting career

His distinguished acting career was devoted to the Stratford Festival where he won great acclaim in many roles including King Lear (1988), James Tyrone in Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey Into Night (1994-1995) (a production which was subsequently filmed), and Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest (1975-1979). He played all the great Shakespearean roles—Hamlet, Lear, Falstaff, Prospero, Macbeth, and Titus Andronicus.

He has appeared in film and television in such roles as Le Moyne in the 2003 film The Statement, Sir John A. Macdonald in the Canadian television production of The National Dream.

The role of Alton Cockridge in the movie, "Covergirl", was written specifically for him by Charles Dennis.


In 1969 he was made a Companion of the Order of Canada and in 1992 he was awarded the Order of Ontario. He also received an Honorary Doctor of Letters degree from McMaster Universitymarker in Hamilton, Ontariomarker in October 1997, and in 2000 was inducted into Canada's Walk of Famemarker. Hutt was the first recipient of the Governor General's Lifetime Achievement Award, English Stage. He was awarded the 1996 Sam Wanamaker Prize.He was one of the very few people in North America to have appeared on a postage stamp while still alive, the stamp celebrated the Stratford Festival's anniversary and showed him in character as Prospero.

After his death, a bridge on Waterloo Street North that crosses the Avon River in downtown Stratford, ON, was named the "William Hutt Bridge" in his honor.

Later life & death

Hutt retired from the Stratford stage in 2005 with a reprise of Prospero in The Tempest, a role for which he was renowned. He appeared in the television series Slings and Arrows as an ailing stage icon who wants to play King Lear one last time. He had planned to return to Stratford in 2007 in a production of A Delicate Balance, but had to cancel due to poor health.

Hutt, who had leukemia, died peacefully in his sleep on June 27, 2007 in Stratford, Ontariomarker.


  1. Canadian Theatre Encyclopedia. Hutt, William. Athabasca University. Retrieved on: May 14, 2008.
  2. CBC-TV: Life and Times - William Hutt
  4. William Hutt
  5. Order of Canada
  6. CBC Arts (June 27, 2007). Canada's great classical actor William Hutt dies at 87.
  7. - Arts - Theatre - The Tao of Bill
  9. As_It_Happens

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