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Acclaimed character actor dies at 61

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 27/7/2010 (3277 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

TORONTO -- Maury Chaykin, a mainstay of Canadian film and television who established himself through such iconic roles as a faded rock star in Whale Music, has died at age 61.

The Gemini and Genie Award-winning actor died Tuesday morning after battling kidney problems, said Mark McKinney, who produced Chaykin's most recent series, the HBO Canada sitcom Less Than Kind.

"He was one of our greatest actors," said McKinney, adding that the cast was devastated by the death.

"Maury's an actor of unparalleled gifts, you cannot learn what he had in spades -- you could study for 1,000 years. He had an incredible gift, an instant quickness."

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 27/7/2010 (3277 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

TORONTO — Maury Chaykin, a mainstay of Canadian film and television who established himself through such iconic roles as a faded rock star in Whale Music, has died at age 61.

The Gemini and Genie Award-winning actor died Tuesday morning after battling kidney problems, said Mark McKinney, who produced Chaykin's most recent series, the HBO Canada sitcom Less Than Kind.

Maury Chaykin, a mainstay of Canadian film and television, has died at age 61.

Maury Chaykin, a mainstay of Canadian film and television, has died at age 61.

"He was one of our greatest actors," said McKinney, adding that the cast was devastated by the death.

"Maury's an actor of unparalleled gifts, you cannot learn what he had in spades — you could study for 1,000 years. He had an incredible gift, an instant quickness."

Chaykin's agent Paul Hemrend said the actor died at Toronto General Hospital surrounded by family but would not elaborate on the cause of death.

Chaykin was born July 27, 1949, in New York to an American father and a Canadian mother before later moving to Toronto.

His extensive resumé spanned 35 years, his legacy as one of Canada's most beloved performers cemented with a celebrated turn as a has-been music star in 1994's Whale Music.

Other roles included a memorable turn in Dances with Wolves, as well as the eccentric TV detective Nero Wolfe, and an acerbic movie studio honcho in Entourage. Other appearances on U.S. shows included C.S.I., and Boston Legal.

His role in Whale Music earned him a Genie for best performance by an actor in 1994, while he picked up Geminis for guest spots on La Femme Nikita in 1998 and At the Hotel in 2006.

In Less Than Kind, Chaykin played a diabetic father who struggled to run a driving school in Winnipeg.

The close-knit cast was shocked by the news given that he seemed to be recovering well from a kidney ailment, McKinney said.

"The last time I saw him he was looking great, considering, and looking forward to doing the (upcoming) season with us," said McKinney, who said he spoke with Chaykin just weeks ago.

"He wasn't ailing, he'd had a dip, definitely, but you only have to take a look at the first episode he shot with us in Season 2 (to see how well he was)."

Chaykin's illness was written into the show and he delivered an "incredible performance," McKinney said.

"We had him laid up in hospital and he was fantastic, he hadn't lost a step as an actor, at all, and we were really looking forward to seeing him again this year."

In October 2008, Chaykin told The Canadian Press he was "bowled over" by Less Than Kind's frankness, cutting edge, sensibility and heart.

"It comes from pain of the heart, it comes from desire, it comes from wanting to do the right thing and not really being able to," Chaykin said.

"The pain of that, of wanting to be a good father, of wanting to be a good mother, and not being able to or not knowing quite how to, but trying and not giving up. Being relentless.

"That's where the joy of the show lies and it is a joyful show, it has a lot of pain in it, a lot of laughs."

McKinney said it's too early to think about how his death will affect the next season.

"This is still pretty fresh and people are still kind of reeling and reaching out to each other," he said.

"He was a teacher and for us to be able to work with him, particularly in the second year, which was a tricky year for him as he was coming back from his illness, it kind of knit us together in a way that you don't get to do on other shows.

"He was wonderfully complex and warm and I'm going to miss him a lot."

Chaykin is survived by Susannah Hoffmann, and their daughter, Rose.

 

— The Canadian Press

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