Lorne Greene - Cineplex Legends Inductee
2015 cineplex legends inductee
Lorne Greene was born on February 12, 1915 in Ottawa, Ontario. He showed early promise in the arts, acting in small productions while attending Queen's University in Kingston. It was at Queen’s that he would also take his first steps in radio, working at the Radio Workshop of the university's Drama Guild at campus radio station CFRC. After university, he studied acting at New York’s prestigious Neighbourhood Playhouse School of the Theatre.
Greene returned to Canada in 1939 to apply for (and land) a job at the CBC. He quickly rose to become one of the country’s most prominent newscasters and the principal newsreader on the CBC National News, earning the nickname “The Voice of Canada."
During this time, Greene also narrated several documentaries produced by the NFB—including Churchill’s Island, a 1941 NFB film depicting the defence of Great Britain. It won the very first Academy Award for Documentary Short Subject.
Greene served as a Flying Officer in the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War II, before returning to Canada to launch the Academy of Radio Arts—a Toronto-based school for writers, actors, directors and production personnel. (Among his many students were James Doohan, who would become Scotty on Star Trek, and famous actor-turned-comedian, Leslie Nielsen.)
In the early 1950s, Greene left Canada to take on a career in Hollywood, beginning with small parts before landing leading roles. In fact, it was a bit part on Wagon Train that landed him a starring role in one of the biggest TV westerns of all time, Bonanza. The series, launched in 1959, established Greene as one of the go-to actors of his generation. It ran for 14 seasons, with the final broadcast taking place—incredibly—on January 16, 1973.
From that point on, Greene worked constantly, starring in series like Griff, The Moneychangers and Roots, as well as a host of TV movies. In 1978, Greene would land another iconic role, taking on the part of Commander Adama in the legendary Battlestar Galactica series.
He continued to act and star in productions into the late ’80s. During that time, Greene also devoted much of his energy to wildlife and environmental issues, hosting and narrating the series, Lorne Greene's New Wilderness.
Lorne Greene was an acting icon, and in 1969 he was awarded Officer of the Order of Canada for his services to the performing arts and community. Greene passed away at age 72 on September 11, 1987 in Santa Monica, California.