Canadian actress Janet Wright was a highly respected figure on her country's stage scene, as well as a much-loved presence on television and in films, most notably the gently eccentric sitcom "Corner Gas" (CTV, 2004-2009). Born March 8, 1945 in the English town of Farnborough, she was the eldest of four siblings, all of whom would go on to perform on the Canadian theater circuit. She emigrated to Calgary, Alberta, Canada with her family in 1946 and eventually settled in the city of Saskatoon. There, she and her sister, Susan, founded the Persephone Theatre Company in 1974, which went on to become one of the most successful and critically acclaimed regional theater companies in Canada. Wright then forged a relationship with the Vancouver Arts Club Theatre, for which she served as lead actress in and director for numerous productions. The exposure afforded by her work with the Arts Club Theatre led to roles at major theaters across Canada, as well as a career in features and television, including supporting roles in Robert Altman's "McCabe and Mrs. Miller" (1971) and the cult favorite "Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains" (1982) for Lou Adler. She remained one of her country's leading stage talents well into the 1990s and beyond, though her film and television career began to reap its own laurels: Wright won a Genie - the Canadian equivalent of the Oscar - for her turn in the 1992 drama "Bordertown Café," and logged supporting turns in major American features like "The Perfect Storm" (2000) and "Rollerball" (2002). In 2003, she earned a Gemini Award for her performance as a doctor contending with a water contamination outbreak in "Betrayed" (CBC, 2003), but it was her five-year run as Emma Leroy on the well-loved sitcom "Corner Gas" that endeared her to the widest audiences. Cast as Emmy Leroy, the doting and occasionally domineering mother of series creator Brent Butt's alter ego, who owned the titular station, Wright won her second Gemini for Best Ensemble in a Comedy Program in 2007, as well as a Canadian Comedy Award that same year for Best Female TV Performance. When the series ran its course in 2009, Wright continued to work in features and on stage; though hampered by ill health and personal tragedy - her parents and sister Susan perished in a 1991 fire, and her daughter, Rachel Davis, was shot while intervening in an assault outside a bar in Vancouver in 2004 - Wright continued to act and direct until 2015. The following year, CTV, which aired "Corner Gas," confirmed her death on November 14, 2016, which inspired an outpouring of affectionate remembrances from castmates and fellow actors throughout Canada.
Cast (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Landed first major film appearance in Robert Altman's "McCabe and Mrs. Miller"
Won a Genie for "Bordertown Café"
Earned a Gemini Award for the ecological disaster TV movie "Betrayal"
Began five year stint as Emma Leroy on "Corner Gas"
Portrayed final film role as Emma in "Corner Gas: The Movie"