Actors William Shatner and Donald Sutherland were back in the spotlight as recipients of the Order of Canada, among a group of 39 honored at a ceremony in Ottawa on November 21. Julie Payette, Governor General of Canada, conducted the investitures.
Sutherland was promoted to Companion of the Order of Canada, while Shatner was made an Officer.
Other sff and genre-adjacent celebrities added as Members were Christina Jennings, creator of Murdoch Mysteries, and Kathleen Reichs, for work in forensic anthropology and as a crime novelist (the Bones series)
Their official citations read —
The engraving on Donald Sutherland’s honorary Academy Award reads: “For a lifetime of indelible characters, rendered with unwavering truthfulness.” From Norman Bethune and Fellini’s Casanova, to the CBC’s Pirate’s Passage, he has been a Canadian presence worldwide for six decades, whose talent and magnetic charisma have made him a shining ambassador and promoter of Canada. When U.S. border patrol agents look at his Canadian passport and ask him why he’s never become an American citizen, his smiling reply has always been: “You don’t have the same sense of humour.”
William Shatner is a cultural icon who has boldly gone where few have gone before. His renowned career in theatre, television and film extends over 60 years and his memorable performances as Captain James T. Kirk in the classic television series “Star Trek” has entertained and inspired generations of viewers. A proud Canadian, he supports various charities related to health care, the environment and the well-being of children. Through his larger-than-life persona and his artistic achievements, he has left an indelible mark on popular culture.
Christina Jennings has been at the forefront of the television and film industries for years. Founder and CEO of Canada’s only woman-led entertainment company, Shaftesbury, she has spearheaded thousands of hours of broadcasting, including primetime television, children’s programs, feature films and web series. She is best known for bringing history to life to a loyal audience with her acclaimed period drama “Murdoch Mysteries.” A mentor to many, she nurtures emerging talent, both in front of and behind the camera, and through her governance, notably as chair of the Canadian Film Centre.
A forensic anthropologist and author, Kathy Reichs uses a vast compendium of knowledge to create stories that are suspenseful, engaging and technically detailed. She is internationally acclaimed for her mystery series, Bones, and its TV adaptation. Like the series’ protagonist, she is often called upon by police departments and government agencies for her insight into criminal investigations in Canada. Her creative work has been widely embraced by Canadians who appreciate not only her storylines, but also her portrayal of the city of Montréal and the province of Quebec.
Other figures of genre interest who have previously received the honor include fantasist Guy Gavriel Kay and astronaut Chris Hadfield (2014) and Robert J. Sawyer (2016).
Former astronaut and now Governor General Julie Payette alluded to her space exploring experiences in her introductory remarks, and told the story of the time she went to the movies with her friend Scott Kelly, the astronaut who recently spent a year in space.
Now, as she watched Clint Eastwood blasting off in the movie Space Cowboys, she realized that they were using the footage from her own launch.
“What would you do if I stood up in the movie theatre and said, ‘I’m on that shuttle!’” she whispered to Kelly.
The implication to the actors in attendance was clear: they could have their fun on the soundstage, but they needed people like Payette to actually do the job, even in the movies themselves.
When Shatner’s bio was read to the assembled crowd it noted that he had “boldly gone where few have gone before,” Payette raised her hand in mock confusion. Shatner turned to her and gestured good-naturedly, in an apparent admission of her superior space credentials.
The order was established in 1967, Canada’s centennial year.
[Thanks to StephenfromOttawa for the story.]