Whitstable Famous Face – Fiona Reid

With the third instalment of My Big Fat Greek Wedding released this September, we thought it would be fitting to look back on the career of the Whitstable-born actress who featured in the first two films of this franchise, Fiona Reid.

 

Born on 24th July 1951, Fiona Reid spent her teenage years travelling the world as her father was a doctor in the British Army, living in Germany, Africa and America before the family settled in Canada in 1964.

Fiona studied acting at Montreal’s McGill University, gaining a Bachelor of Arts degree in addition to being alumni at the Banff Centre for the Arts.

One of the most popular Canadian stage actors, Fiona established this from a young age, performing in theatres across the country, spending twelve seasons at the Shaw Festival and five seasons with the Stratford Festival, both Ontario-based. One of Fiona’s first roles in television came in 1974 where she featured in the children’s TV series Dr. Zonk and the Zunkins. A move to sitcom TV children’s series Coming Up Rosie was next with Fiona playing the role of Mona Swicker.

Although Reid’s early work involved a younger demographic of TV shows, including playing the voice of Nicely for the animated Halloween special Witch’s Night Out, Fiona would play Mrs Frappier in the 1980 crime/comedy film Hot Dogs and then further major successful roles would follow in film and TV.

Fiona would meet McCowan Thomas at Summer stock theatre, a theatre in America that presents stage productions only in the summer, who she would later marry in 1977. The couple have two children, Alec and Julia.

Best known for her roles as Cathy in the series King of Kensington and Harriet Miller in My Big Fat Greek Wedding (readers may remember her attempting to explain her gift of a homemade bundt cake to her new Greek family), Fiona’s career has been marked by distinct signature roles which have made her a national treasure in Canada.

Reid has twice won the Dora Mavor Moore Award for her performances in theatre, firstly for Fallen Angels in 1993 and, secondly, for Six Degrees of Separation in 1995. The actress also won an Elizabeth Sterling Haynes Award for her performance in August; Osage County and most recently (2015) Fiona received the Toronto Critics’ Award for her performance of Sonia in Vanya, Sonia, Masha and Spike.

In 2006, Fiona was made a Member of the Order of Canada which is the second-highest honour of merit in the country. Two years later, Reid received The Barbara Hamilton Award which, although now retired, was an award presented to a Canadian artist who demonstrated excellence in the performing arts and was dedicated to advocating and being an ambassador for the arts in Canada. Fiona received a cheque for $1,500.00 and a scroll from the City of Toronto.

Fiona Reid is also a recipient of the Toronto Life Women of Distinction Award, celebrating Fiona as a visionary committed to creating a place at the table for women, girls and gender-diverse people and shattering glass ceilings.

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