The golden year: the octogenarian awesomeness of Gordon Pinsent

The golden year: the octogenarian awesomeness of Gordon Pinsent

(Image: Carlo Allegri/Getty) 

Labelling Gordon Pinsent an it boy seems a bit ridiculous, given the length of his proverbial tooth. But it’s impossible to deny the renewed buzz surrounding the octogenarian, whose career has spanned six of those eight decades and included roles that jumped from heart-rending (a husband coping with his wife’s Alzheimer’s in Away From Her) to heroic (the president of the U.S. in the sci-fi classic Colossus: The Forbin Project) to I-can’t-believe-he-did-that (a cop tracking a bloodsucking baddie in the blaxploitation flick Blacula). He may owe some of his current lustre to Justin Bieber, believe it or not. Pinsent did a send-up on This Hour Has 22 Minutes, bringing his gravitas to a reading of Bieber’s autobiography, and the skit went viral on YouTube. Then came news that Pinsent would reprise his role as Babar in the beloved Canadian cartoon, which returned in November. And this winter, the CBC presents The Pillars of the Earth, a drama based on Ken Follett’s best-selling book about the building of a cathedral (and the behind-the-scenes smut) in 12th-century England. Pinsent plays the Archbishop of Canterbury, a juicy yet relatively small role, which meant days off on location in Vienna. While another actor might have whiled away the hours over schnitzel and strudel, Pinsent spent his time writing a play. Easy, Down, Easy premiered in his native Newfoundland last summer, on his 80th birthday. It could have been a nice bookend to a distinguished career, but Pinsent isn’t ready to step out of the limelight.

TV
The Pillars of the Earth
Premieres Jan. 4, CBC