January 13, 2011, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada – The Shaw Festival mourns the passing of distinguished Canadian actor Al Kozlik. Mr. Kozlik died peacefully on January 11 at the Greater Niagara General Hospital after suffering a stroke. He leaves behind his spouse of 41 years, Scott Sunderland.
Upon making the announcement, Artistic Director Jackie Maxwell noted: “Al was a most beloved and generous Company Member with an enthusiasm for, and love of, actors and acting that was endlessly infectious. I feel blessed to have witnessed his final performance as “Firs” in The Cherry Orchard last season, a part he had always wanted to play and which he embodied so beautifully.”
Mr. Kozlik had been a member of the Shaw Festival Ensemble for twenty-eight years. He was a Vancouver Playhouse alumnus who arrived at The Shaw in 1980 when Christopher Newton became Artistic Director. Reflecting on his long-time association with Mr. Kozlik, Artistic Director Emeritus Christopher Newton said: “I worked with Al for over 45 years. He was a great trooper, he was a great company member and he was one of those people who simply loved to be on the stage. Whether playing a small or large part, they were always alive vibrant and fully realized — Al Kozlik was a consummate company member.”
A character actor of the highest standing, Mr. Kozlik appeared in over 40 productions at The Shaw. He officially retired from the stage at the end of the 2010 season, and will be particularly remembered for his appearances in S.S. Tenacity, The Cassilis Engagement, Three Men on a Horse, Detective Story, Getting Married, You Can’t Take It With You, The Simpleton of the Unexpected Isles, The Petrified Forest, Cavalcade, Saint Joan, Man and Superman, Geneva, He Who Gets Slapped, Night of January 16th, Camille and The Suicide.
Mr. Kozlik’s extensive career in the theatre included eight seasons at the Stratford Festival and work across Canada in such theatres as Theatre Plus, Theatre New Brunswick, Tarragon Theatre, and as the lead in The Black Bonspiel of Wullie MacCrimmon at the Citadel Theatre and the Globe Theatre.
Mr. Kozlik’s television and film credits include Due South, Kung Fu, The Campbells, Home Fires, Night Heat, Mrs. Soffel, Friday the 13th, The Long Road Home and Dreamspeaker, to name a few.
Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to Morgan’s Funeral Home in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Viewing visitation and service will take place on Friday, January 21, 2011 between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Details and an online guestbook can be found at www.morganfuneral.com.