Have you ever wondered what happened to your favourite cast members from Road to Avonlea? Here’s a look at what the cast have all achieved since their days in Avonlea.
Sarah Polley (Sara Stanley)
Today, Sarah is an accomplished actress, writer, producer and director. But here’s a look at what the “Story Girl” has done to receive these well-deserved titles. After appearing in the last season of Road to Avonlea, Sarah went on to star in the critically acclaimed drama The Sweet Hereafter, in which she played the only survivor of a school bus crash. Since then, she starred in a number of series and feature films, including the zombie thriller Dawn of the Dead, Slings and Arrows, Beowulf & Grendel and the HBO drama John Adams, to name just a few. Besides her many acting roles, Sarah garnered international attention with the film Away From Her, for which she adapted the short story “The Bear Came Over the Mountain” written by Canadian author Alice Munro. The film, which starred Gordon Pinsent and Julie Christie, was nominated for two Academy Awards: best adapted screenplay and Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role. This was not the first feature that Sarah wrote and directed, nor will it be her last.
You can follow Sarah on Twitter @SarahEPolley.
- Noah Baumbach’s Frances Ha and Sarah Polley’s Stories We Tell … – World Socialist Web Site
- Sarah Polley’s ‘Stories We Tell’ turns lens on her own family – Minnesota Public Radio
- Stories We Tell : The Secrets of Sarah . . . – Miami New Times
- Sarah Polley tells all on herself in ‘Stories We Tell’ – The Desert Sun
- Stories We Tell: Sarah Polley’s Family Secrets – Seattle Weekly
Jackie Burroughs (Hetty King)
The actress who played the indomitable Hetty King actually shares her character’s never-tiring attitude. We can simply look for proof in the number of television series and films she appeared in since her days in Avonlea. Jackie appeared in many Canadian television series, including Due South, Made in Canada, The Eleventh Hour, Slings and Arrows, as well as the American show Smallville – to name just a few. Some of her feature films include Lost and Delirious, A Guy Thing, Willard, Rhinoceros Eyes, The Republic of Love, Fever Pitch and Into the Labyrinth. Sadly, Jackie Burroughs passed away on September 22, 2010.
Zachary Bennett (Felix King)
Zachary Bennett is best known for playing mischievous Felix King on Road to Avonlea, but the series was actually one of four Sullivan Entertainment films that Bennett acted in. He acted opposite Greg Spottiswood as adorable Sullivan Delaney in the TV adaptation of A.E. Hotchner’s Looking for Miracles; alongside Gema Zamprogna in the epic miniseries By Way of the Stars; and with Sarah Polley in L.M. Montgomery’s Lantern Hill, along with his brother Gareth.
Bennett maintained a busy schedule even as a very young performer, having also acted in several other television series during Avonlea’s run, including Manic Mansion, The Hidden Room, and Free Willy. He appeared in the Hollywood films Dog Park, Blind Faith, and Strike! (alongside Kirsten Dunst), before reprising the role of Felix for An Avonlea Christmas.
Most recently, Bennett has appeared in TV movies and series including Everest, The Border, Flashpoint, Lost Girl, Wild Kratts, Covert Affairs, Rookie Blue, and Detentionaire. Bennett’s creativity is not limited to drama—In 2004, he founded the band Yonder (later renamed Tin Star Orphans), a 5-piece rock group currently recording and playing shows in Toronto. There is no doubt that audiences will continue to see Bennett in the Canadian television and film landscape.
Gema Zamprogna (Felicity King)
Gema Zamprogna’s professional career began when she asked her parents if she could try auditioning for television commercials. She was cast in the TV movie Challengers, playing a girl who disguises herself as a boy to be part of a music group. This role conflicted with her part in RTA, and fortunately, shooting schedules could be rearranged to allow Zamprogna to play Felicity. She reprised the role of Felicity for An Avonlea Christmas, and also acted alongside Zachary Bennett in the Sullivan film By Way of the Stars.
Zamprogna continued acting in several TV movies and series, and graduated from Queen’s University with a degree in Film and Drama in 1997.
She was a founding member of the Theatrefront Drama Group in Toronto, which describes itself as an “ensemble of artists who cross borders to create unique dramatic work”. Zamprogna is also a distinguished dancer and choreographer, and has appeared in dozens of roles on stage. She is also an entrepreneur, opening her own Pilates and acting studio. Zamprogna is married to Daniel Boich, and together they have two children and live in Toronto.
Cedric Smith (Alec King)
Best known as the kind-but-firm father figure from Road to Avonlea, Cedric Smith is a recognizable face to Canadian audiences—but his voice may be equally well known, as he has narrated and voiced characters in many programs. Smith will be familiar to many Sullivan fans, first appearing as Reverend Allan in 1985’s Anne of Green Gables. He was also featured in the Sullivan programs Sleeping Dogs Lie, Butterbox Babies, Anne: Journey to Green Gables, as well as seven seasons of Road to Avonlea and the Avonlea Christmas Special. Smith won a Gemini award for his work on the series in 1993. Interestingly, Smith had previously played the role of a family patriarch in a period program, before being cast in Road to Avonlea. He acted in four seasons of the Canadian series, The Campbells, and also contributed as a writer.
Born in England, Smith moved to Canada at the age of ten, and began his career in the Entertainment industry when he formed the “Perth Country Conspiracy”, an avant-garde, experimental folk group, in 1969. This vocal training gave him ideal experience to work as a narrator and voice actor, and led to roles in X-Men, Tales from the Cryptkeeper, Spider Man, The Silver Surfer, Totally Spies!, Friends and Heroes, narration for several documentaries, and several of the Canadian advertisements, “Historical Minutes”.
Since filming of RTA wrapped up, Smith has continued acting and appeared in several TV movies, series, and feature films. Most notably, he played a recurring role in the series Living in Your Car, appeared in Murdoch Mysteries, and had a role in the highly popular miniseries, The Kennedy’s (alongside Katie Holmes, Greg Kinnear, and Tom Wilkinson).
Lally Cadeau (Janet King)
Cadeau was born on January 10th, 1948 in Burlington, Ontario. Cadeau has performed in stage and television acting and is a strong supporter of the Stratford Festival since 1998. Cadeau is best known for her role as Janet King in the series Road to Avonlea. Cadeau is married and has three children. In 1986, Cadeau was nominated as Best Supporting Actress for Separate Vacations in 1986 for the Genie Awards. She has received the Dora Mavor Moore Award for her performance in Saturday, Sunday, Monday. Lally has a daughter and two sons with Robin Weatherstone, and lives in Toronto. She currently designs homes & gardens at Lally Cadeau Design.
You can subscribe to Lally’s Facebook page.
Mag Ruffman (Olivia King-Dale)
Fans of Road to Avonlea may find Mag Ruffman’s face familiar—before she was cast as Olivia King in RTA, Ruffman appeared as shopkeeper Alice Lawson in Anne of Green Gables and the sequel. Ruffman had a memorable scene with Richard Farnsworth (as Matthew Cuthbert), where he awkwardly purchases a very special girl’s dress as a gift. Ruffman also appeared in the Sullivan Entertainment film, Looking for Miracles.
Ruffman hosted television shows “Anything I Can Do” and “A Repair to Remember” for several years, which showcased her talents as a licensed contractor. She also writes a column, ToolGirl, for the Toronto Star. In 2012, she partnered with Lowe’s Canada to produce a series of web videos featuring creative projects for the whole family. Perhaps best of all, her blog ‘ToolGirl.com’ epitomizes the DIY “can-do” attitude. Ruffman highlights tips and tricks, cool websites, new products, and all the information anyone could hope for about building/fixing/creating.
- Women making inroads in trades careers – StarPhoenix
- Minister Raitt announces winners of “It’s Your Job!” video contest – Canada NewsWire (press release)
- Results from 2013 Skills Canada National Competition Show Bright Future for … – Canada NewsWire (press release)
- Photo Release – 19th Annual Skills Canada National Competition kicks off in … – Canada NewsWire (press release)
- Habitat for Humanity’s ‘Women Build’ campaign looking to build six T.O. homes – insideTORONTO.com
R.H. Thomson (Jasper Dale)
R.H. Thomson has been one of the leading actors in Canada for the past 30 years, performing extensively on stage, television and film. He has worked in Canada, Europe and the US. He has won awards for his acting, his directing and his writing. His work has encompassed a wide range of roles as an actor and as well a career as a director, narrator and television host. Thomson has acted in roles all over the country including the Manitoba Theatre Centre, Canadian Stage, Theatre Passe Muraille, Tarragon Theatre, Toronto Free Theatre, Toronto Workshop Productions, Stratford Festival, Theatre New Brunswick, Bastion Theater, and directed at Neptune Theatre. Thomson has appeared in over 50 film and television scenes. Thomson was nominated 9 times in the Gemini Awards, winning twice.
R.H. is an arts advocate and activist. He has toured extensively with the baroque orchestra Tafelmusik and recently completed an international project of remembrance called Vigile 1914-1918 Vigil.
You can learn more about his recent work on rhthomson.ca.
Michael Mahonen (Gus Pike)
Born and raised in Kirkland Lake, Ontario, Michael is an award-winning actor, screenwriter, director and film producer whose work has been seen in over 150 countries around the world. Mahonen attended and graduated from Toronto’s George Brown College in 1989. The following year, Mahonen was selected to play Gus Pike in the Road to Avonlea series. Originally, he was only supposed to be featured in two episodes, but with the praise of viewers, his contract was extended for two more years. Mahonen won 3 Gemini Awards for his role in the series.
Michael is President and Creative Director of Requisite Films, which aims to produce entertaining and enlightening films of integrity that awaken conscience and inspire compassion. His debut film, Sandstorm, received 29 awards at independent film festivals worldwide.
Patricia Hamilton (Rachel Lynde)
Patricia Hamilton reprised the role of Rachel Lynde in all four Anne of Green Gables movies, and in the television series Road To Avonlea. Her role in A Bird in the House garnered her a 1975 Canadian Film Award. Hamilton’s stage credits include Keely & Du, If We Are Women, Dreamland, King Lear, Miracle Mother, The Arab’s Mouth and Bob’s Kingdom. She was the recipient of a Dora Mavor Moore Award as Best Supporting Actress for her role in I Am Yours. Hamilton was honored with a Brenda Donahue Award for Distinguished Contribution to Theatre in Toronto in 1987.
Marilyn Lightstone (Muriel Stacey)
Marilyn Lightstone is a celebrated Canadian actress, known for her appearances on a wide variety of television programs, including Dennis the Menace, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventures and The Super Mario Bros, Super Show. However, Lightstone is best known for her heartwarming portrayal of Miss Muriel Stacey in Anne of Green Gables and Road To Avonlea. Lighthouse also starred in Kevin Sullivan’s first feature-length film The Wild Pony. Among her accolades in film are a Genie Award for Best Actress for Lies My Father Told Me; a Genie Award for Best Supporting Actress for In Praise of Older Women; and a Best Actress Award at the Moscow International Film Festival for The Tin Flute. Lightstone now currently hosts an evening show on Toronto’s Classical 96 – Znaimer’s classical music radio station. She is also a successful photographer, painter, mixed media artist and author.
You can visit Marilyn’s official site at marilynlightstone.com
Elva Mai Hoover (Mrs. Lawson)
With more than thirty years of experience, and countless credits to her name, plus extensive commercial, voice-work and theatrical projects, as well as five separate Gemini and Genie nominations – Elva Mai Hoover has had much success since Road To Avonlea. A graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada, she has also appeared at the Stratford Festival, and played leading roles in regional theatres all across Canada. Continuing TV roles have included The Edison Twins, and Queer as Folk. She’s appeared in films and TV movies like Mama, a horror movie with Jessica Chastain, Down the Road Again, Murdoch Mysteries, Flashpoint, and Rookie Blue, as well as stage plays like Doubt, Like the First Time, Harvest, Half Life, Rabbit Hole, Romeo and Juliet, For the Pleasure of Seeing Her Again, Homeward Bound, and The Bush Ladies. Elva is also a well-known teacher of voice-over and a successful voice-over performer.
You can subscribe to Elva’s Facebook page.
Kay Tremblay (Great Aunt Eliza)
Born as Katherine McAllister in 1914 in Glasgow, Scotland, Tremblay was a Canadian film actress, who occasionally did a few television voice-overs as well. Tremblay won an Gemini Award for her winning role of Great Aunt Eliza on Road to Avonlea. Shortly after marrying, Tremblay moved to Canada and began her career in 1954. On August 9, 2005, at the age of 90, Tremblay passed away in Stratford, Ontario.
Molly Atkinson (Cecily King)
Atkinson is a Canadian actor and singer currently situated in Toronto, Ontario. Atkinson attended and graduated from the National Theatre School and The Stratford Conservatory for Classical Training. Atkinson has also worked at the Stratford Festival in plays. Atkinson also works on different radio dramas and sings Jazz with the Molly Atkinson Quintent, performing at different festivals.
Zachary Ansley (Arthur Pettibone)
Ansley is a Canadian actor and lawyer born on January 21st, 1972, in Vancouver, British Columbia. Ansley was the first recipient winner of the YTV Acting Award in ’89. Ansley attended and graduated from Circle in the Square Acting School in New York. Afterwards he acted with Willow Cabin Theatre, New York, before venturing back to Vancouver to continue acting there. Ansley has acted in over 30 roles for both film and television. He currently practices law with Owen Bird Law Corporation in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Colleen Dewhurst (Marilla Cuthbert)
Dewhurst was born on June 3rd, 1924 in Montreal, Quebec. Dewhurst was a Canadian-American actor who held the title “The Queen of Off-Broadway” for some time. Dewhurst interpreted the works of Eugene O’Neill on the stage, acted in films, dramas, live television, and Joseph Papp’s New York Shakespear Festival. Dewhurst is most recognized for her role of Marilla Cuthbert in the movie adaptations of the Anne of Green Gables series and the same role in TV series Road to Avonlea. Dewhurst was the only child of professional hockey player Fred Dewhurst, who later became a sales manager. Her mother was a homemaker Christian Science practitioner. Dewhurst was nominated for 12 Emmy’s, winning four of them. She won the Sarah Siddons Award, two Tony Awards, 2 Gemini Awards and was entered in the American Theatre Hall of Fame in ’81. Dewhurst performed in 19 theatre productions, over 30 television shows, and over 50 film and television movies. Dewhurst passed away in 1991.
Kyle Labine (Davey Keith)
Labine had small roles in several television series before he was cast as Davey, and has continued to act since Avonlea ended. He has appeared in the television series Goosebumps, The Outer Limits, Da Vinci’s Inquest, The Twilight Zone, Falcon Beach, Flash Gordon, Samurai Girl, and Grand Masters. Labine has also broken into Hollywood, playing Steve in Big Bully (opposite Tom Arnold and Rick Moranis), Bill Freeburg in the slasher movie Freddy Vs. Jason, and Dave in The Perfect Score (opposite Scarlett Johansson and Chris Evans). Labine has also acted in several voice roles, including the X-Men Evolution and Madeline television series.
In a 2011 interview with SullivanMovies.com, Labine recalled fondly working with legendary actress Colleen Dewhurst. Her advice to the young actor on how to focus during a scene was just to take a few deep breaths, something Labine says he still remembers to do today when performing.
Along with his brothers Cameron (an actor and film writer) and Tyler (a well known actor, popular for his roles in Breaker High, Reaper, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and Animal Kingdom), he continues to work in the film industry. Kyle met his wife Sophie on location in Europe, marrying in 2007, and they welcomed a son in 2011.
You can subscribe to Kyle’s Facebook page.