OBITUARY

August Schellenberg

July 25, 1936August 15, 2013

SPEECH BY AUGUST SCHELLENBERG ON RECEIPT OF THE GASCON-THOMAS AWARD OF THE NATIONAL THEATRE SCHOOL OF CANADA

I THANK THE BOARD OF GOVERNORS FOR THIS VERY SPECIAL AND PRESTIGIOUS HONOUR. POWYS THOMAS AND JEAN GASCON - THESE TWO GIANTS OF THE THEATRE WORLD WERE NOT ONLY MY TEACHERS BUT ALSO FELLOW ACTORS WITH WHOM, IN TIME, I HAD THE PRIVILEGE AND PLEASURE OF WORKING PROFESSIONALLY, AND, ON OCCASION, SHARING A 'WEE DRAM' OR TWO OR THREE - AFTER THE CURTAIN CAME DOWN, OF COURSE. IN THE 1960s THE NEWLY-CREATED NATIONAL THEATRE SCHOOL WAS A HAPPENING PLACE, AS I’M SURE IT IS TODAY. I AM GRATEFUL FOR THE WONDERFUL TEACHERS WHO TAUGHT US OUR CRAFT AND ATTEMPTED TO PREPARE US FOR A LIFE IN THE THEATRE AND THE LARGER WORLD OF SHOW BUSINESS:

- EDDY GILBERT – THE HISTORY OF THEATRE CLASS: “WOULD SOMEONE GIVE MR. SCHELLENBERG A NUDGE? HE SEEMS TO HAVE FALLEN ASLEEP…AGAIN.”

- JEFF HENRY – DANCE AND MOVEMENT: “WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU HAVE TO GO TO THE BATHROOM? YOU GO TO THE BATHROOM BEFORE YOU COME TO CLASS, MON. AND DON’T BE LATE FOR CLASS.”

- MR. VAMOS – OUR FENCING MASTER – AT THE AGE OF 63 WAS SO AGILE, HE WOULD TELL YOU WHAT SABER CUT HE WAS GOING TO GIVE YOU, GIVE YOU A CHANCE TO PREPARE, AND STILL HIT YOU.

- MR. KIEFER – GYMNASTICS

- JACQUES KAZMA – MIME

- MARCEL SABOURIN – IMPROVISATION

- MME. VORONOFF – BALLET: “LE TORSO, MONSIEUR SCHELLENBERG, LE TORSO…”

- MUSIC CLASSES AND THE GREAT SENSE OF HUMOUR OF GABRIEL CHARPENTIER

- POWYS THOMAS – WITH HIS VERKAKTE “UNDER MILK WOOD” “LLAREGGUB, BOYO. LLAREGGUB, LLAREGGUB. DO YOU KNOW THAT ‘LLAREGGUB’ SPELLED BACKWARDS IS ‘BUGGER ALL’? I THINK DYLAN THOMAS WAS HAVING FUN, DON’T YOU THINK?” I THINK SO, POWYS.

- JEAN GASCON – “AUGUSTE, YOUR FRENCH IS ATROCIOUS! WHERE DID YOU LEARN YOUR FRENCH?!” “ON THE STREETS OF MONTREAL, JEAN.” “AH, WELL…THAT’S FORGIVABLE, I GUESS.”

- AND OF COURSE, OUR WONDERFUL VOICE TEACHER MISS ELEANOR STEWART – IT TOOK ME THE WHOLE FIRST SEMESTER TO GET THROUGH THE FIRST STANZA OF THE HIGHWAYMAN. (RECITES:) “THE MOON WAS A GHOSTLY GALLEON…” “WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY THE MOON, MR. SCHELLENBERG? “WELL, IT’S…IT’S THE MOON, IT’S IN THE SKY.” “BUT WHAT DOES THE MOON MEAN TO YOU?” “WELL, IT CONTROLS THE TIDES, LOVERS MAKE LOVE UNDER IT, THE POETS MAKE POETRY ABOUT IT, THE SONGWRITERS WRITE SONGS ABOUT IT.” “THANK YOU, MR. SCHELLENBERG. NOW TRY PUTTING THAT INTO THE WORD.” YES, MISS STEWART, YOU WERE ALSO RIGHT ABOUT ANOTHER THING – YOU TOLD US THAT IT TAKES AT LEAST 20 YEARS TO BECOME AN ACTOR. YES. YOU WERE RIGHT.

MY CAREER, AS ZARA SAID, SPANS A LITTLE OVER 40 YEARS. I HAVE WORKED WITH MANY WONDERFUL AND TALENTED PEOPLE WITH AN NTS CONNECTION, NOT ONLY ACTORS BUT ALSO THOSE WHO WORK IN THE MANY DISCIPLINES SO INTEGRAL TO THE LIFE OF A PRODUCTION. WE MEET AS FAMILY – NTS FAMILY.

OF COURSE, I HAD A FAMILY, A LIFE, BEFORE THEATRE SCHOOL. I HAD A MOTHER, A FATHER, AND A WONDERFUL FOSTER MOTHER, MY COUSINS PAM AND GARY WHO ARE IN THE AUDIENCE TODAY, AND SADLY, A MARRIAGE THAT DIDN’T LAST BUT FROM THAT MARRIAGE PRODUCED A BEAUTIFUL GIFT, MY DAUGHTER SOPHIA WHOSE LOVE FOR ME AND MINE FOR HER WILL LAST FOREVER. SOPHIA CHOSE A DIFFERENT CAREER – SHE WENT INTO FINANCE AND IS HAPPILY MARRIED TO MY SON-IN-LAW ANDRE SOUMIS.

MY YEARS AT THE SCHOOL WERE SOME OF THE HARDEST AND SOME OF THE BEST OF MY LIFE. FRIENDSHIPS WERE BORN THAT CONTINUE TO ENRICH MY LIFE. THERE WAS A YOUNG ACTRESS IN THE YEAR AHEAD OF ME WHO ASKED ME OVER FOR DINNER ONE NIGHT…I NEVER LEFT. SHE KNEW A GOOD COOK – I MEAN A GOOD ACTOR – WHEN SHE SAW ONE. WINNIPEG’S JOAN KARASEVICH, ALREADY A WORKING ACTRESS, HAD COME TO NTS TO “BRUSH UP HER SHAKESPEARE” AND SHE DID, ULTIMATELY SHARING THE STRATFORD FESTIVAL STAGE WITH POWYS THOMAS AND BEING THE FIRST ACTRESS TO RECEIVE STRATFORD’S TYRONE GUTHRIE AWARD.

WE WERE VERY FORTUNATE TO SPEND THE FIRST YEARS AFTER GRADUATION WORKING TOGETHER QUITE OFTEN AND OCCASIONALLY AT OPPOSITE ENDS OF THE COUNTRY. PHONE BILLS COULD BE ASTRONOMICAL. SO, WE MARRIED. AND THE NATIONAL THEATRE SCHOOL WAS AT THE WEDDING: JOAN’S CLASSMATE SALLY BAKER WAS HER MAID OF HONOUR, AND ALAN BLEVISS, A CLASSMATE OF MINE, CURRENTLY A MEMBER OF THE NTS BOARD WHO HAS DONATED SO GENEROUSLY TO THE SCHOOL, WAS MY BEST MAN. I AM SO HAPPY THAT HE, ALAN, AND HIS LOVELY DAUGHTER LISA ARE HERE TO SHARE THIS MOMENT WITH ME.

JOAN AND I AGREE THAT OUR BEST CO-PRODUCTIONS WERE OUR DAUGHTERS REENA AND JOANNA. THEIR ARRIVAL ON THE SCENE BROUGHT GREAT CHANGE TO OUR PERSONAL LIVES WHILE THE RAPIDLY-GROWING NETWORK OF REGIONAL THEATRES AND THE EXPANDING OPPORTUNITIES IN TELEVISION AND FILM WERE BRINGING GREAT CHANGE TO OUR PROFESSIONAL LIVES. WE WENT WHERE THE WORK WAS – CHILDREN IN TOW – LIKE GYPSIES. NOT EASY, BUT WHAT GREAT MEMORIES.

THE APPLE FALLETH NOT FAR FROM THE TREE. REENA, BY THE AGE OF FIVE, HAD STOLEN THE SHOW FROM HER MOTHER IN A RAINBOW STAGE PRODUCTION OF “THE SOUND OF MUSIC” AS GRETEL, THE YOUNGEST VON TRAPP, TO JOAN’S MARIA. THAT PRODUCTION ALSO FEATURED – IN THE ROLE OF UNCLE MAX – NTS ALUMNUS THE LATE TIBOR FEHEREGYHAZI, LONGTIME ARTISTIC DIRECTOR OF SASKATOON’S PERSEPHONE THEATRE. REENA APPEARED ON SESAME STREET, STARRED IN A T.V. SERIES, AND ATTENDED THE NATIONAL BALLET SCHOOL IN TORONTO. AFTER HIGH SCHOOL SHE RECEIVED A MOREHEAD SCHOLARSHIP TO THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA AND HAS CHOSEN TO USE HER MANY TALENTS AS A TEACHER. SHE MARRIED FELLOW MOREHEAD SCHOLAR RAFAEL MARTIN. THEY LIVE IN DALLAS AND WORK AT THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS. THEIR FIRST COPRODUCTION IS DAUGHTER SERENA, WHO WE ALL HOPE WILL BECOME A BRAIN SURGEON – GOOD LUCK!

AND SOME OF US ARE TRULY BORN TO IT. JOANNA HAD HER FIRST TASTE OF AUDIENCE APPLAUSE BEORE SHE WAS FIVE, SINGING WITH HER MOTHER AND SISTER AT FOLK FESTIVALS – NO BRAIN SURGEON THERE! JOANNA CUT HER CHOPS WATCHING US, HER PARENTS, REHEARSING AND PERFORMING. WHO NEEDED A BABY SITTER? SHE DID COMMERCIALS, RADIO, TELEVISION, INCLUDING A T.V. MOVIE IN WHICH I PLAYED HER FATHER (TYPECASTING) AND THE INCOMPARABLE MONIQUE MERCURE, A FORMER DIRECTOR OF NTS, PLAYED HER MOTHER. JOANNA STARRED AS HELEN KELLER IN TORONTO’S YPT’S PRODUCTION OF “THE MIRACLE WORKER” WHICH BROUGHT HER A DORA NOMINATION AT THE TENDER AGE OF 11, AND ALSO AS ANNE IN “THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK,” SHARING THE STAGE WITH ALUMNUS RICHARD DONAT AS OTTO FRANK AND HER SISTER REENA AS MARGOT. JOANNA WORKED THROUGH HER TEENS ADDING SINGING AND SONGWRITING TO HER RESUME. HER LAST PLAY IN TORONTO WAS “AUNT HANNAH MEETS JOE RIVER” WITH DONNY ALLISON, MY CLASSMATE AND NTS ALUMNUS, PLAYING HER FATHER. OUR MOVE TO DALLAS GAVE HER THE OPPORTUNITY TO WORK WITH THE SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL OF DALLAS WHERE HER PORTRAYAL OF JULIET IN A PRODUCTION OF “ROMEO AND JULIET” SET IN THE CIVIL WAR EARNED HER THE DALLAS THEATRE CRITICS’ AWARD. SHE WAS A MEMBER OF THE STRATFORD SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL FOR TWO SEASONS ALONG WITH HER GODFATHER, MY CLASSMATE JAMES BLENDICK, A 20-SEASON STAR OF STRATFORD WHO IS ALSO MARRIED TO HIS CLASSMATE MARY HITCH. JOANNA IS MARRIED TO A CANADIAN ACTOR, MONTREALER ADRIAN CHURCHILL. THEIR FIRST CO-PRODUCTION IS A DAUGHTER NAMED MIRANDA WHOM WE WILL BE BABYSITTING WHILE JOANNA, HAVING JUST FINISHED A PRODUCTION OF “PRIDE AND PREJUDICE” BEGINS REHEARSAL FOR “A CHRISTMAS CAROL.”

AS FOR MY CAREER, MY WORK IS ALL OUT THERE IN CYBERSPACE, ON A VERY FINE WEBSITE WHICH MY FAMILY CREATED FOR ME IN HONOUR OF MY RECENT EMMY NOMINATION FOR “BURY MY HEART AT WOUNDED KNEE” IN WHICH NTS ALUMNUS COLM FEORE ALSO APPEARED. THE EMMYS WERE A BLAST – THE FROSTING ON A DELICIOUS SLICE OF LIFE. FELLOW NOMINEE SANDRA OH – AN NTS GRAD – SENDS HER GOOD WISHES TO EVERYONE HERE AT NTS, AS DOES MY CLASSMATE WILLIAM MOCKRIDGE, WHO AFTER GRADUATION WENT TO GERMANY AND NOW STARS IN HIS OWN T.V. SHOW AND PRODUCES A GERMAN “SECOND CITY” WITH HIS ACTRESS WIFE. THEY JOINED US IN MONACO FOR THE INTERNATIONAL T.V. FESTIVAL WHICHH OPENED WITH “BURY MY HEART.”

IT HAS BEEN SAID THAT IF YOU CAN COUNT YOUR TRUE FRIENDS ON ONE HAND, CONSIDER YOURSELF FORTUNATE. THE CREATOR HAS TRULY BLESSED ME, FOR TO COUNT MY TRUE FRIENDS I WOULD HAVE TO TAKE OFF MY SHOES AND SOCKS, AND THEN SOME. MY MONTREAL-BORN AND VANCOUVER-DAYS ROOMMATE, THE LATE JOHN JULIANI OF NTS AND SAVAGE GOD FAME – ONE OF CANADA’S FINEST DIRECTORS, WITH WHOM I DID SOME OF MY BEST WORK – WOULD PROBABLY TELL ME TO “STOP AT THE SHOES AND SOCKS, PLEASE!” I MISS HIM, I MISS HIM TERRIBLY. I AM HAPPY TO KNOW THAT NTS BOARD MEMBER LAWRIE ROTENBERG, MY FIRST AGENT, WHO SHARED 30 YEARS OF MY CAREER, IS HERE TODAY ALSO. I HOPE TO SEE NTS GRAD ARDON BESS SOON IN DALLAS, WHERE HIS DAUGHTER LIVES. ARDON GOT MARRIED IN DALLAS TWO YEARS AGO AND I HAD THE HONOUR OF BEING HIS BEST MAN. I’D LIKE TO DIGRESS FOR A MOMENT AND BEG YOUR INDULGENCE. I HAVE DONE FOUR FILMS WITH THIS GENTLEMAN, THE LAST BEING “BURY MY HEART AT WOUNDED KNEE” IN WHICH HE RECEIVED AN EMMY NOMINATION ALSO. HE IS ONE OF THE FINEST AND THE BEST COSTUME DESIGNERS I’VE EVER HAD THE PLEASURE OF WORKING WITH. LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, I’D LIKE TO INTRODUCE MONSIEUR MARIO DAVIGNON (APPLAUSE). THANK YOU FOR YOUR INDULGENCE.

I AM GRATEFUL TO HAVE MY DAUGHTER SOPHIA HERE TODAY ALONG WITH OTHER FAMILY AND FRIENDS. I AM ESPECIALLY GRATEFUL TO HAVE MY WIFE JOAN BESIDE ME, AS ALWAYS. LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THANK YOU FOR ALLOWING ME TO SHARE WITH YOU MY THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS ABOUT THE NATIONAL THEATRE SCHOOL OF CANADA – WHAT IT MEANT, WHAT IT MEANS TO ME. TO MY YOUNG PEERS-IN-THE-MAKING – MAY YOU TOO KNOW LOVE, FRIENDSHIP, HEALTH, OPPORTUNITY, AND SUCCESS. I WISH YOU A GOOD JOURNEY AND MAY YOU ALL WALK IN PEACE. THANK YOU. MERCI. (APPLAUSE. LOTS OF IT.)

- Montreal, the Ludger-Duvernay Theatre, Friday, October 26, 2007, 12:30 p.m..

Services

  • Funeral Service Monday, August 19, 2013
REMEMBERING

August Schellenberg

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Christian Corenza

March 30, 2017

you were a very awesome actor in the free willy movies and you were awesome R.I.P August Schellenberg

January 27, 2016

I was truly blessed to have had the opportunity to meet you and Joan. My thoughts and prayers are with Joan and your Daughters as they continues this earthly journey without you.

Luciano Cola

August 20, 2015

It would be a better world with you in it, Love You and miss you, R.I.P. Auggy

Harry Simpson

August 16, 2015

Thank you for sharing a part of your life with us.

July 13, 2014

To a wonderful actor husband and grandfather~ Your words of love and spirit live on in your family~! R.I.P. Auggy~!

Maria

May 31, 2014

May heaven and earth meet to take you home, to see the Great Creator. Thank you for leaving us with memorable film roles, which were beautifully portrayed by a Native American. May prayers, blessings,and love continue to wrap your family from this loss. Rest in Peace August Schellenberg, you will be missed.

Metis Rick Meilleur

November 22, 2013

My greatest day in my Metis years was to meet Mr. Schellenberg and his wife in a small community in Thessalon Ont. Canada in 2004. We shared great laughs together and shared stories. Auggie was truly a great Metis. To his family we the Meilleur family,Metis from Sudbury and the Metis Nation of Ontario send our deepest sympathy . Our prayers are with you. Sorry for the late response as I just heard about his passing today.

Sincerely Metis Rick Meilleur

Laura Taylor

August 27, 2013

I used to dance Ballet with Renee in Toronto. One of my earliest memories is seeing Mr. Schellenberg on occasion. I thoroughly enjoyed watching his work on the screen. he was/is an amazing and inspiring actor.

Our thoughts and prayers to the whole family. Be Well and take care

Laura Taylor and family

Elinor Benne

August 23, 2013

To the Schellenberg family...My thoughts and prayers are with you all. What a great man who gave respect to all Native American rolls. May The Great Spirit watch over him, as he journeys to be with Mother Earth. I will miss him greatly.

Leigh Ann Mitchell

August 23, 2013

RIP GBU ALL TO THE FAMILY ....