People

Marsha Boulton July 30 1979

People

Marsha Boulton July 30 1979

People

Claiming to “reach souls through painting,” Ojibway artist Norval Morrisseau has set up shop in Tom Thomson’s 65-year-old shack at the McMichael Canadian Collection in Kleinburg, Ontario. “The spirits know we are here and they look down on us. Maybe Tom Thomson is here right now,” says the 47-year-old painter who believes that the works of the Group of Seven reflect the same sort of spiritual awareness that he brings to his boldly charted works. Though Thomson was not a member of the Group of Seven, the shack has a heritage that Morrisseau hopes to live up to—following Thomson’s death in 1917 it was occupied by Frederick Varley and A.Y. Jackson. Amid the ghosts, Morrisseau is painting a 10-by-five-foot canvas showing one of his characteristic Thunderbird images. The canvas is so large that Morrisseau practically has to climb up it, often coming close to dragging his Order of Canada medal (which he never removes) through the paintpots.

When she started stagnating in Montreal’s rag trade after only a few months, Joy Boushell began to wonder whether a career in fashion design was what she really wanted. The 20year-old “country girl” who grew up in Quebec’s Eastern Townships had gone to the big city after doing a stint at La Salle College and committed herself “to having a great time.” Indulging herself one evening a few months ago at Montreal’s latest fave rave disco, Studio 1234, the good times began to roll. “It was kind of spooky. Somebody just walked up and said, ‘Hey, you want to be in a movie?’ If it had come from a guy I would have thought it was just a typical line, but it was a woman so I said,

‘Sure’.” So it was that Boushell found herself cast as a “busty waitress” who spends her days off hitch-hiking in search of action in Pinball Summer, a Montreal production directed by George Mihalka, 27, whose most memorable effort to date has been something called Pizza to Go. Boushell isn’t holding her breath about the possibility of a glittering future, but admits: “It will be nice to look back on the film when I’m 70 and know that I did something.”

After seven failed TV series and two smash hits (The Carol Burnett Show and McHale's Navy) comedian Tim Conway appears to have struck gold with Walt Disney. His second Disney film, The Apple Dumpling Gang, was one of the studio’s largest box-office draws ever and, in the tradition of Jaws II and Rocky II, Conway is back in the saddle for The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again. “I’ll keep riding my mule as long as Rocky keeps fighting,” swears the balding, diminutive actor who has learned that wardrobe fittings at the Disney studios inevitably mean “an introduction to your animal.” Though Conway admits that “the mule and I have become good friends over the

years,” he has also formed a close personal and professional friendship with lanky co-star Don Knotts. “When Disney teamed us up,” says Conway, “they put Laurel and Laurel together.” Conway, 45, will team up with his other famous co-star, Carol Burnett, for four TV specials in August and after that he plans to follow Sylvester Stallone’s lead with a picture called The Prizefighter— featuring Don Knotts in boxer shorts.

It’s a long way from Swan Lake to the back row of the chorus line, but that’s the direction high-kicking hoofer Deborah Henry has taken, and she wouldn’t have it any other way. When Henry was 15 she left home in Memphis, Tennessee, to spend her summers studying dance at the Banff School of Fine Arts. There she was spotted by Arnold Spohr, director of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. He offered the leggy redhead a scholarship to study in Winnipeg and it was pliés and tutus for a year, which Henry now describes as “the most exhausting, best training a dancer could ever have, even when it hurt.” Now 27, Henry is literally in A Chorus Line, the wildly successful Broadway musical about the

high-stepping hij inks and heartbreak of 17 dancers who are auditioning for a chance to be “in the line.” After 32 months of travelling with the show, Henry has worked her way up and now plays the leading role of Cassie. “Spohr would kill me,” she says with an affectionate Southern drawl, “but recalling the audition I had to go through with him gives me goose pimples that make working in A Chorus Line a lot easier.”

He calls himself Little Humpie, the fans scream back Big Humpie—and that’s how life is for Engelbert Humperdinck, the British sex throb whose quaint adopted name is so long that he’s forced to drop the last three syllables on most marquees. When he started in 1968 with his Beatles-topping hit Re-

lease Me, Humperdinck’s image was all sideburn, swivel and pout, which made him easily confusable with singer Tom Jones, also dark-haired, hunky and powerfully voiced. Today the sideburns are gone, the swivel is muted and the hair is back to its natural auburn. Only the pout remains—along with the traditional symbolic kiss that he doles out every performance to two lucky ladies from the audience. “I tried to take the kiss out once,” says the Hump, “but the fans wouldn’t let me.” A chronic regular in Las Vegas, Enge (as he likes to be called offstage) was in Toronto last week playing to his customary bluerinsed and gaga crowds. Dolled up in a Travolta-white suit studded with sequins, Humperdinck likened his attire to “Llberace’s underwear,” a fair under-

cut since he designs his wardrobe along with everything else in his act. At 43, his appeal hasn’t waned and crazed women still are wont to throw their underthings in the general direction of his furry chest, which should cause havoc in movie houses when the Hump makes his first film sometime next year.

For more than 40 years the unsinkable Margaret (Ma) Murray met her deadlines and fed up some of the saltiest news ever printed for the subscribers to the Bridge River-Lillooet News, which she edited and published from her clapboard office in northern British Columbia. “Printed in the sagebrush country of Lillooet every Thursday, God willing. Guaranteed a chuckle every week and a belly laugh once a month or your money back,” was the message on the masthead and Murray delivered, usually in her editorial column, Chat Out of the Old Bag. Though she retired six years ago, Murray, now 91, is still as gentle as a shotgun and about as timid as a muleskinner. “I’m going panning for gold, the price being what it is,” she announced from a hospital bed where she is recovering from a broken leg that doctors suspect she fractured simply by moving too fast. “She’s sure we’re all going to be rich corpses out of it,” says Murray’s daughter, Georgina Keddell,

65, of her mother’s plan to sluice for nuggets at a site on the Fraser River where she acquired a claim 17 years ago. “I’m sure when I’m her age I’ll be in a basket.”

Edited by Marsha Boulton