Stage Door News

Stratford: Len Cariou to receive Stratford Festival’s Legacy Award

Thursday, September 8, 2022

Actor Len Cariou will be this year’s recipient of the Stratford Festival’s Legacy Award. It will be given at a gala in Toronto’s Four Season’s Hotel on Monday, September 12.

“I have such enormous admiration for Len Cariou,” says Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino, “and I am so very pleased that we can recognize his outstanding contributions to theatre with this Legacy Award. The depth and versatility he shows as an actor is second to none. Here at the Festival he performed some of the greatest classical roles, and on Broadway he created two of the most unforgettable musical figures in modern theatrical history. We were very fortunate indeed that Len not only came to Stratford to build his career, but also returned as a leading player, generously mentoring younger actors while continuing to grow within the Stratford company.”

Cariou did six seasons at the Stratford Festival, coming here from Winnipeg in the early 1960s and returning in the early 1980s. From 1962 to 1964, he performed in 12 productions including as Cléonte in Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, Longaville in Love’s Labour’s Lost and Servilius in Timon of Athens.

After Stratford, Cariou joined Artistic Director Tyrone Guthrie and other Stratford Festival artists at the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis, newly launched in 1963. He made his Broadway debut in 1968 in The House of Atreus, directed by Guthrie.

Cariou went on to star in more than a dozen Broadway productions, famously originating the role of Fredrik Egerman in A Little Night Music (winner of 1973’s Tony for Best Musical), and of Sweeny Todd, for which he won the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical in 1979. In 1977, he recreated the role of Fredrik Egerman in the film of A Little Night Music, opposite Elizabeth Taylor.

Cariou then returned to Stratford for the 1981 and 1982 seasons, playing the title role in Coriolanus, Petruchio in The Taming of the Shrew, Prospero in The Tempest, Brutus in Julius Caesar and Major Sergius Saranoff in Arms and the Man.

Cariou has hundreds of film and TV credits and is perhaps most widely known today for playing Henry Reagan opposite Tom Selleck in Blue Bloods, the hit CBS series that has been running since 2010. He appeared in several episodes of Murder She Wrote with Angela Lansbury, his Tony-winning co-star in Sweeney Todd.

He has also appeared in Star Trek: Voyager, Damages, The West Wing, Law & Order, Brotherhood and The Outer Limits. He was nominated for an Emmy Award for his portrayal of Franklin Roosevelt in HBO’s Into the Storm.

Cariou is a Member of the Order of Canada and was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in 2004.

Eric McCormack to host tribute

Monday’s Legacy Gala will be hosted by Eric McCormack, who was presented with the award in 2017. It will feature tribute performances by André Sills, Dan Chameroy, Robert Ball and Sandra Caldwell, accompanied by Franklin Brasz.

The Stratford Festival launched its Legacy Award to honour important figures from its history. The first award was presented to Christopher Plummer in 2011. Since then it has gone to Dame Maggie Smith, William Shatner, Martha Henry, Colm Feore, Eric McCormack, Gordon Pinsent, Megan Follows and Andrea Martin.

The Legacy Gala is co-chaired by Barry Avrich, Wendy Pitblado and David SimmondsEvents kick off Monday at 6:30 p.m.

Photo: Len Cariou as Prospero in The Tempest. © 1982 Robert C. Ragsdale.