DAVID HEMBLEN
1941 - 2020
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HEMBLEN, DAVID Celebrated Toronto actor David H. M. Hemblen died on November 16, 2020. Born on September 16, 1941, in England, David immigrated to Toronto with his parents in 1956 and attended high school here. Originally embarked on an academic career, David was pursuing a Ph.D. in Medieval Studies when he caught the actor's bug. Spotted by Royal Shakespeare Company's Clifford Williams in a student production, David acted in the first season of Theatre Toronto, launched in 1967 with John Colicos, Terry Tweed, Barbara Hamilton and other luminaries of the Canadian stage. David's stage career included over 70 productions in theatres like the National Arts Centre, Stratford, the Shaw Festival, and roles in regional and local theatres across Canada. David received a Dora Nomination for Best Leading Actor as Dr. Astrov, in Tarragon Theatre's production of Uncle Vanya. As a film and television actor, David was acclaimed for his performances in several films by director Atom Egoyan, garnering a Genie Award nomination for his role in Family Viewing. David also developed an international following for his portrayal of Jonathan Doors in the television series Earth: Final Conflict. In addition to his acting skills, David brought a considerable intellect to all these roles. Over the years, David never abandoned his interest in the literature of England's Middle Ages and was fond of reciting, from memory, long passages from Chaucer to friends and family. David leaves his cherished daughter, Kate (Catherine Elisabeth) Hemblen, an art teacher, her husband, Glyn Thomas and their two children, David's beloved grandchildren, Anna Thomas (13) and Celyn Thomas (15) who will miss their grandpa and remember their happy times with him. Donations in the name of David Hemblen can be made to: Actor's Fund of Canada: https://afchelps.ca/donatenow/

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Published in Toronto Star on Nov. 21, 2020.
Memories & Condolences
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18 entries
December 10, 2020
When we were graduate students at U Toronto I shared a house with David as well as an interest in medieval theatre. I had the good fortunate to direct him in two student productions - Gammer Gurton's Needle and Rafe Roister Doister - that must have been among the first of his stage appearances. He was generous, kind and understanding throughout, as well as immensely talented. And that marvellous booming bass voice was there from the very beginning.
RIP Diccon and Rafe.
Joel Kaplan
Classmate
December 7, 2020
I put my relationship to David as "Student", although that's not technically true. Without any of the condescension adults usually bring when conversing with a kid, he gave me what a true teacher gives: The confidence to find my voice. I wish I'd been in touch with him in recent years. Damn he was a cool guy.
Daniel Bekerman
Student
December 7, 2020
I knew David when I was a baby through to my young adult years - he was fun, often silly and an expressive, loving man, I can still hear his voice...... love to Kate
Nadia Bekerman
Friend
November 23, 2020
Kate, Glynn, Kellen and Emma, I am terribly sorry for your loss, and for walking by your home yesterday on Sunday without realizing your Da and Gran'da had passed on the week before. If you need to talk at all down the road, I am always pleased to be an open ear, and if right now you're needing the space I suspect you do, I will gladly cede it and not intrude in your grieving.

Be good to yourselves, and each other. You honour his memory in being the excellent people you are together and whom you always been, and he's Upstairs now where Chico and Nemush have been waiting for their Papa Dave, along with therein your hearts, where he will always be when you have need of memory and company.
Garth Gilmore
Friend
November 23, 2020
David was such a wonderful man. I spent only a short time with him back in 1987 as we filmed a TV series together... and we actually didn't get to work together much because of the story line. ....but we spent countless hours together off the set in the ramshackle bus depot that we used as a set. I can still see him walking down that hallway to our dressing rooms., wearing a ungodly ugly striped bathrobe, that we ALL wore when not in our incredibly uncomfortable costumes.... but he would have that huge piece of gear on his face and he would sit in it all day.... never a complaint ...never a word about how uncomfortable it must have been in the heat we worked in.... never a complaint about the amount of smoke that he had to endure in EVERY scene he was in.....and believe me?. ..it was insane amounts.. David was the kind of actor I always wanted to be.... Solid , smart, confident, open, and simply brilliant..... but all of that was nothing compared to the MAN he was in himself. That show would have never been what it was without HIM...he was brilliant, and I enjoyed every minute I was lucky enough to spend with him. I send my most heart felt condolences to his family and friends. Know he will be missed and admired by many...starting with me.
Tim Dunigan
Friend
November 22, 2020
The world has lost a talented actor...I will always remember him in Captain Power and Short Circuit 2. Forever a fan!
Justin Halbersma
November 22, 2020
Dearest Kate:
My deepest condolences to you and your family. I will always remember David for his scintillating intellect, his searing talent and his expansive heart. Sending you love and light at this difficult time.
Pam Winter
Acquaintance
November 22, 2020
Dear Hemblem Family,

I've never met David personally, but I was a great fan of his acting. When I was a child, I loved his role as the evil Lord Dread in Captain Power and The Soldiers of The Future. I had a chance to relieve that show after buing the DVD a few years back. He was an amazing actor who really elevated whatever show he did. His performances as Magneto in the animated X-Men series and Earth Final Conflict as Jonathan Doors, was also great.

I had just heard of Mr. Hemblem's passing from the Captain Power Facebook page, and wanted to express my deepest condolences.

He will continue to live on in our memories through his acting, and for those that knew him personally, those memories will live on as well. RIP Mr. Hemblem.
Chris Gaspar
November 22, 2020
I knew David since 1981 when we first worked together at the Shaw Festival. I shared the stage with him many times, and he directed me in Coward's The Vortex, a huge hit for Frances Hyland and Geraint Wyn Davies. He was generous enough to let me assistant direct when it came back for a second year. We also shared the screen in Atom Egoyan films. Great guy, beautiful voice, thank you for the memories David. You will be missed. Condolences to all the family. xo
Peter Krantz
Coworker
November 21, 2020
Hi Kate and family,
Our sincerest condolences to you on the passing of your dad, father in law and grandpa. We have fond memories of time spent with you and your dad, Kate, many years ago.
Thinking of you with deepest sympathy.
Ann Baggley and Roger Honeywell
Ann Baggley
Acquaintance
November 21, 2020
David was a terrific influence to me as a young actor at the Shaw Festival.....both on the stage and off.....I cherish the moments we shared together....he will be missed by many but never forgotten.....my sincere condolences
jim Mezon
November 21, 2020
A quick story

It was 1995 and I’d never met David. I was a fledgling agent at Noble Talent, and my colleague, Rachel Neville-Fox must’ve mentioned in passing to her star client, David Hemblen, that I was thinking of going to France with my girlfriend, Ruth Marshall. David asked to speak with me, and right there over the phone invited me to use his apartment in Banyuls Sur Mer, in The Pyrenees. How much? I skeptically asked the stranger with the deep phone voice. Where I come from, there’s always a catch. Nothing, he replied. I would just love you to use it.

So, we did. The apartment was shambolic and eclectic and humble and magical, kind of like David himself. We stayed a week in this enchanted town, and I guess the magic rubbed off a bit because by the time we got to Monte Carlo a few days later I asked my girlfriend Ruth to marry me. And for some reason she said yes. David loved this story. Our production company to this day is called BANYULS SUR MER INC.

I didn’t know him well, but that’s kind of the whole point. He would take the shirt off his back to help a stranger. My impressions of David from others who knew him was that he was a person of contradictions. Like cantankerous benevolence. Like melancholic joyousness. Like unassuming brilliance.

But like I say, I didn’t know him well. I’ll just never forget him. And that’s a contradiction right there.
Rich Caplan
Friend
November 21, 2020
Dear Kate,
I’m so sorry for you loss. David was a great friend and mentor to me when I was a young actor. You and your father will always be on my mind when I look my plastic “microbe”
Condolences from Chick and myself
Tom McCamus
Friend
November 21, 2020
Many condolences to dear Kate and her family. David was a lovely man who will be missed by many.
sean Breaugh
Friend
November 21, 2020
Dear Kate,
I am sending you and your family, and your Dad’s extensive group of friends and colleagues, my sincerest condolences.
Much love,
Beatrice Campbell
Beatrice Campbell
Acquaintance
November 21, 2020
Hi Kate and family - it's Marjorie Lecker- your neighbour from Longview Co op - I was just wondering about David - as we used to chat when running into each other at Wolfrey and Broadview - I was happy to get to know him through the years of dogs in the park - Nimush and Chico -hope I got the spellings right, and the Riverdale neighbourhood - as well professionally, and seeing sometimes with the grandkids and you. I'm so sorry for you loss - I will miss our talks.

marjorie lecker
Acquaintance
November 21, 2020
I am very saddened by the loss of my friend and cherished collaborator, David. He was superb actor, and the quality of his work in my films is something I will always be very thankful for. David was the first "star" I ever worked with, and he was extremely generous with me in my early work. He lifted these early films immeasurably, and I was blessed to work with this brilliant man. Deepest condolences from Arsinée and myself. Atom Egoyan
Atom Egoyan
Friend
November 21, 2020
David was a friend and fellow actor over the years. I always loved working with him and hearing his beautiful voice. He gave me one of my biggest breaks when, in 1983, I was his understudy at The Shaw Festival for Caesar And Cleopatra. A sore throat got the better of him and I was on after a few hours of rehearsal. Later he was my arch enemy in an episode of Goosebumps. Great guy with an equally great legacy. He will be missed. A fine actor and friend. The very best to you all.
Peter Keleghan
Coworker
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