Mary Walsh is one of my favourite people in the media. On Monday night I had the pleasure of hearing her speak at the Bluma Appel Theatre in the Toronto Reference Library. The library has an ongoing program of speakers and events that are enormously interesting and they’re free. Interviewed by Toronto Star’s Richard Ouzounian, Mary reminisced about her childhood, her start in the entertainment business and over the course of an hour related experiences in a conversational format. She’s currently starring in a one-woman show entitled “Dancing With Rage” which despite Richard Ouzouian’s less-than-kind review is no doubt worth the price of admission.
Strong women always inspire me. Mary Walsh rose above a difficult childhood, alcoholism, an abusive relationship, macular degeneration and many professional failures to become a Canadian icon. A chronic under-achiever in school, she revealed that she got a total mark of 7 in her high school French exam. When compared with my own mark of 15, I’m an absolute genius.
I remember enjoying her along with Cathy Jones, Greg Malone, Andy Jones, Tommy Sexton and the rest of the cast many years ago on CODCO from Halifax and of course, more recently This Hour Has 22 Minutes. Mary and Cathy’s “Friday Night Girls” from CODCO still make me smile when I think of them. Presenting herself to Toronto Mayor Rob Ford in her Princess Warrior character resulted in an unprecedented call by his Lordship to 911, a defense never before taken by any other politician. And she’s challenged them all.
Mary’s wonderful Newfoundland sense of humour and her natural intelligence combine to make her a wonderful writer, actor and social commentator. My dream would be to write and observe life from her perspective. In the meantime, I’ll just wait, watch and listen for more Mary Walsh.