Music 32

Norman Donald Browning

January 30, 1946 ~ January 5, 2024 (age 77) 77 Years Old

Norman Browning Obituary

Norman passed away peacefully In the Palliative Care wing of Nanaimo Hospital, after a long illness. He was predeceased by his sister Elizabeth Coan of Vancouver in 2020.

He is survived by his beloved wife of 24 years, Laurie Paton-Browning of Parksville, Daughter

Leanne Berry (Chris) and granddaughter ‘Vivi’ Berry of Cambridge, ON, Brother-In-Law Robert Coan of Vancouver, nephew Douglas Coan (Lea) and children Shyla and Kyle, of Surrey, nephew Donald Coan (Ana) and children Olivia and Ellie, of Port Coquitlam, Step-daughter Ashley Marlatt of Vancouver, Sister-In-Law Kathy Harper (Don) of Qualicum Beach, Sister-In-Law Janice Paton (Denise Loiseau) of Grande Prairie, Alta, Brother-In-Law Robert Paton (Diana)

of Parksville.

Born and raised in Vancouver, Norm attended Lord Byng High School, where he was introduced to the world of musical theatre by a favourite English teacher, Alice Rowe. He first performed

 in the Gilbert and Sullivan musicals while in grade 11. Norm attended Simon Fraser University, studying Political Science, intending to become a lawyer, but the universe had other plans. The acting opportunities and offers kept coming, and he took that leap of faith and changed course.

He left university in 1969 to become part of Vancouver’s burgeoning alternate Theatre scene. He started working with companies like Manfrog and John Juliani’s Savage God. Joining Canadian Actors Equity in the early 1970’s, Norm became a local favourite and a fixture at Vancouver’s Arts Club and Playhouse Theatres.  He performed in 20 productions at the Playhouse and over 35 productions at the Arts Club -- where he is widely acknowledged as playing a pivotal role in its success. It celebrates its 60th anniversary this year.  Norm’s career spanned over 50 years in theatre, film and television. Known for his incredible presence and versatility in both drama and comedy he received many accolades for his acting over the years including Jessie Awards for She Stoops to Conquer 1983 and Nothing Sacred 1989 and an Actra Award in Radio Drama in 1991.

Norm worked in theatres across the country -- most notably for the Shaw Festival for 23 seasons (over 40 productions).  At the Shaw, he met his wife Laurie and shared the stage with her in many shows – most notably in Arthur Miller’s All My Sons and Shaw’s Arms and the Man. Laurie remembers fondly working with Norm in Jitters at Victoria’s Belfry Theatre in 2011 and in their last show together in The Importance Of Being Earnest at Victoria’s Bluebridge Theatre in 2016. 

Norm will be remembered for his work with UBCP, The Union of BC Performers, where in collaboration with many of his colleagues, he fought for the rights of all BC performers and for the security and longevity of their own union. Norm’s mentorship of young actors just beginning their careers will also be remembered.   A natural raconteur, Norm loved telling stories, usually about his early theatre days, always promoting and praising the talents of his many colleagues and friends. He loved playing the piano, and did so in a number of plays, but also for family and friends. When his in-laws became residents of Qualicum Manor Nursing Home, it would not be surprising to find Norm at the piano, playing in the romantic style he was known for, with a dozen elderly lady residents surrounding him and singing. He could delight an audience anywhere. His humour, generosity and kindness and love for his family will never be forgotten.  He will be missed by life-long friends in Grand Forks, Vancouver, Vancouver Island and across the province. And by friends and colleagues in Ontario and Quebec and across the globe.

Donations may be given to The Actors Fund of Canada, or the Canadian Cancer Society.

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Donations

The Actors Fund of Canada
1000 Yonge Street, Suite 301, Toronto ON M4W 2K2
Tel: 1-877-399-8392
Web: https://afchelps.ca/donatenow/

Canadian Cancer Society
Suite 300, 55 St. Clair Avenue West, Toronto ON M4V 2Y7

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