B.C.-born Broadway star Brent Carver dies at 68

    1 of 3 2 of 3

      B.C.-born Broadway star Brent Carver died on August 4.

      In a statement, his family said he passed away in “his favorite place on Earth”, his birthplace of Cranbrook, British Columbia.

      "Brent, in his humble fashion, will be remembered as the kind, gentle and gifted man he was, with the deepest love as a true friend and family member," read his family's Facebook post.

      No cause of death has been released.

      Carver not only put his mark on Broadway in hits like Parade (as Leo Frank) and Kiss of the Spider Woman (as Molina), but was a high-profile actor here in Vancouver as well.

      He attended the University of British Columbia from 1969 to 1972, and his first professional role was in the legendary Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris at the Arts Club Theatre in 1972.

      That company's artistic director, Bill Millerd, directed Carver in a MUSSOC (UBC Musical Society) production of West Side Story, and once told the Straight it was obvious that he had the talent to become a star: "I think he's extraordinary and he was always extraordinary," Millerd said.

      When he was 20, Carver performed three different shows with the Playhouse Holiday Theatre, the travelling youth wing of the Vancouver Playhouse. Halfway through the tour, the Arts Club found itself a performer short for Jacques Brel. Carver landed a job as an understudy. "On my 21st birthday, I did performances of each of the three plays we did for Playhouse Holiday and two shows that night of Brel at the Arts Club," Carver told the Straight. "I did five shows on my 21st birthday. It was perfect."

      Brent Carver in Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris at Stratford Festival in 2010.
      David Hou.

      He also had a long career at the Stratford Festival, starring in shows like FoxfireThreepenny Opera, Timothy Findley's Elizabeth Rex, and Fiddler on the Roof . In 1998, he was part of the first season of Toronto's acclaimed repertory company Soulpepper Theatre Company. And in 2006, he originated the role of Gandalf in the Canadian musical adaptation of Lord of the Rings at the Princess of Wales Theatre.

      In 1993, Carver won a Tony Award (for Kiss of the Spider Woman), which he dedicated to the late Canadian actror Susan Wright.

      In May 2014, Carver received a Governor General's Performing Arts Award. At the time, the awards site praised, “Brent Carver is known for the sensitivity, emotional honesty and charisma he brings to every role, from Shakespeare classics to new Canadian works, and from intimate cabaret performances to blockbuster musicals."

      “Every number has to be an emotional journey of some sort, with a beginning, middle and end,” Carver said in a 1995 NOW cover story.

      “I think every role is musical. I don’t mean that you’re singing notes all the time, but the reception of a spoken line still has a musical quality. That rhythm, that melodic quality, affects me when I hear people speak or when I read words on the page.”