Since Christmas, there has been three of them, sadly. Canadian deaths of some great talent and character and all due to that dreaded C word of cancer.
It all started with my friend actress Heather Menzies Urich who passed away on Christmas Eve at the age of 68 of brain cancer. She had been diagnosed just a month prior and her health declined rapidly said her son Ryan Urich. She died surrounded by family at her Canadian family home. Heather was best known for her role in The Sound Of Music and being married to actor Robert Urich who also died of cancer back in 2002, may the two of them finally be reunited.
Follow that up with Christmas Day and my musician friend Aldo Nova’s partner Paola Melania Italia Simonetto of pancreatic cancer at the young age of 56. Simonetto was head of development and talent recruitment for Musiqueplus and MusiMax in Montreal from 1998 to 2004 and served as senior producer between 1998 and 2001, championing the careers of many Quebec musicians along the way, including her partner, Aldo Nova. In 2016, Simonetto launched online boutique Femme Fatale Glamour, focused on retro Hollywood fashion. She was developing another site geared toward a younger market when she died.
And just this past Monday at the age of 80, Donnelly Rhodes also passed away due to cancer. Ah this guy, such a staple for me growing up, in such shows as The Littlest Hobo, Street Legal, Soap and later Danger Bay, just to name a few. Born in Winnipeg, Rhodes joined the Royal Canadian Air Force as an airman-mechanic, before starting his career as an actor. He earned a Gemini award for playing detective Leo Shannon in Da Vinci’s Inquest in 2002 and a Gemini Earle Grey Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2006. Rhodes was also recognized by the B.C. Entertainment Hall of Fame with a star on Vancouver’s Granville Street Star Walk.
RIP to three great Canadian talents, you will be surely missed.
Photo Credit: Codi Jeffreys Personal Collection