On August 11 at St. Bartholomew’s Church in Ottawa, a special celebration was held to honour PAL Ottawa Founding Chair James Bradford and to launch a new book by author Janet Uren about his storied career on stage and in film and television.
After performing in productions at McGill and with the University of Toronto’s Hart House Theatre, Poculi Ludique Societas and Opera School, Bradford made his professional debut at the Neptune Theatre in Halifax in 1967.
Since then, he has appeared at the Saidye Bronfman Centre in Montreal, the Stratford Festival (Julius Caesar and Cornwall in Lear), Ottawa’s National Arts Centre in both English and French, the Kawartha Summer Festival, the Centaur Theatre and GCTC (Zero Hour, Kilt and A Guide to Mourning). Recent films include The Aviator, The Greatest Game Ever Played and One Dead Indian, and his extensive television and theatre resumes run many pages, filled with memorable roles that have entertained people from coast to coast to coast.
Among those who attended the book launch was David Mayerovitch, who wrote and composed several McGill Red and White Revues in the 1960s in which Jim appeared, and also brought a song he wrote to perform for the occasion. Holly Larocque, who performed with Jim in the CBC series The Pencil Box, also took part in the festivities.
As part of the book launch, over $1,400 was collected in support of PAL Ottawa.
In a 2014 Ottawa Citizen story, Bradford outlined PAL Ottawa’s vision, noting: “PAL Ottawa will help connect members of Ottawa’s professional performing and allied arts community with essentials such as affordable housing, personal care services, and links to the local arts community — so they can live in retirement, not in isolation, but in dignity within a caring community. And, I am convinced that our community will support this endeavour. We know that the process of raising funds, finding land and developing the project will be challenging, but together we will get there.”
As he eloquently concluded the article, Bradford pointed out that “PAL Ottawa will help connect members of Ottawa’s professional performing and allied arts community with essentials such as affordable housing, personal care services, and links to the local arts community — so they can live in retirement, not in isolation, but in dignity within a caring community.”