Eric Peterson, renowned Canadian actor

Eric Neal Peterson, stage, film and television actor (b at Indian Head, Sask 2 Oct 1946). Eric Peterson was educated at the University of Saskatchewan and University of British Columbia, and began his acting career in Vancouver at Tamahnous Theatre (1971), a collective theatre company that he helped to establish. In 1974 he moved to Toronto, where he joined THEATRE PASSE MURAILLE and appeared in several collective documentary productions, including The Farm Show (1972) and most notably 1837: The Farmers' Revolt (1973), in which he played principal roles.

In 1976 he began working with John Gray, a playwright/director and fellow alumnus from Tamahnous Theatre, to create his most critically successful work, Billy Bishop Goes to War, a two-man show (Gray appeared as the narrator and pianist) in which he played more than a dozen characters. The stage play premiered in Vancouver in 1978 and went on to tour internationally for several years, acclaimed on Broadway, in London's West End, and at the Edinburgh Festival Mainstage. In September 1982 the CBC broadcast a televised adaptation, which earned Peterson an ACTRA award nomination for his performance. In 1998, Peterson reprised his performance at Canadian Stage in Toronto and later at the National Arts Centre (NAC) in Ottawa. In October 2000 he appeared in Hysteria at CanStage and in January 2001 he performed in Clout at the NAC.

Peterson, Eric
Eric Peterson, a pioneer of the collective theatre movement in Canada, as Oscar Leroy in the popular Corner Gas series (courtesy CTV).

During the 1980s, Peterson established himself as a film and television actor. Until recently, his most prominent television character was left-wing lawyer Leon Robinovitch on the long-running CBC drama Street Legal (1986-94), for which he won an outstanding six Gemini awards for best actor in a drama series. -From 2004- to 2006 he was seen as Judge Malone on the George F. WALKER CBC drama This Is Wonderland. He remains popular and currently appears as the irascible Oscar Leroy on the hit CTV sitcom Corner Gas (2004-2009).

Peterson is recognized as one of the early pioneers of the collective theatre movement in Canada during the 1970s. His fresh, energetic, natural acting style has made him popular with Canadian audiences, and he continues to be a mainstay of Canadian television.

Author P. VERBEKE
Source: Canadian Encyclopedia; www.thecandianencylcopedia.com