I, like many fellow Canadians, grew up watching the Saskatchewan-based sitcom Corner Gas. Janet Wright played the beloved and sometimes sassy Emma on the show, known for her wit and undeniable sense of humor. Wright passed away at the age of 71 on Nov. 14, 2016 in Vancouver.
Wright immigrated from England with her family to Calgary in 1946 and the family soon settled in Saskatoon when she was very young.
Her IMDb filmography credits go back as far as 1969 for her involvement in film but she started out doing live theatre, which later lead to her getting roles across Canada and the United States.
Performing at nearly every big theatre company in Canada, she was not only an actress on stage but was a theatrical director, including some productions for Ontario’s Stratford Festival. She found herself in front of live audiences, on our TVs and even on the big screen.
Her most notable roles in film included The Perfect Storm, Betrayed (TV movie), Bordertown Café and Corner Gas the Movie. Along with film, she also had some notable work on TV including her roles in The Beachcombers, Dark Angel and Corner Gas.
In 1974, she co-founded Saskatoon’s Persephone Theatre with her sister Susan Wright and her first husband Brian Richmond, naming the theatre after the Greek goddess Persephone.
Persephone Theatre is now the largest theatre in Saskatchewan and one of the largest in Canada. Although she later moved away from Saskatchewan to pursue other roles, Wright never lost her local roots, returning to the theatre in 2014 to direct its season’s opening production of Hedda Gabler.
Wright also had affiliations with Vancouver Arts Club Theatre, appearing in over 40 productions since the early 1970s.
Wright won a Genie award in 1992 for best actress in Bordertown Café and a Gemini award as best supporting actress in 2003 for her role in Betrayed. She also nabbed the award of “Pretty Funny TV Female” at the 2006 Canadian Comedy Awards.
Wright played a big part in Canadian arts and culture, dazzling us in a variety of roles with her frank comedic style. Seventy-one years old just seems too young for this great Canadian to be gone.
She will be greatly missed by many.