Veteran stage actor William Hutt, famous for his many seasons playing all the great Shakespearean roles at Stratford, died today of leukemia at Stratford General Hospital at the age of 87. As a founding member of the Stratford Festival, Hutt acted and directed in 130 productions.
He officially retired from the festival in 2005 playing Prospero in a remount production of The Tempest, where his performance was universally acclaimed, but as Torontoist reported in October of last year, he had plans to return in a production of Edward Albee’s A Delicate Balance this season in a part that outgoing Artistic Director Richard Monette joked was “one of the longest roles in American theatre.” He recently withdrew from the role due to illness.
Hutt kept busy after retiring from acting on the stage, most notably playing something of a parody of himself in the third season of the hit cable series Slings and Arrows, which is loosely based on the Stratford Festival and its goings on. He also had a part in the upcoming CBC miniseries The Trojan Horse.
Truly a legend in the world of Canadian theatre and one of the greatest Shakespearen actors of our time, Mr. Hutt will be sadly missed. If you never got the chance to see him perform on stage, go rent his season of Slings and Arrows when it comes out next week.