Brent Carver
Born(1951-11-17)November 17, 1951
DiedAugust 4, 2020(2020-08-04) (aged 68)
Cranbrook, British Columbia, Canada

Brent Carver (November 17, 1951 – August 4, 2020) was a Canadian actor best known internationally for performances in both London's West End and on Broadway in Kiss of the Spider Woman as Molina, for which he won the Tony Award for Best Leading Actor in a Musical in 1993 and was nominated for an Olivier Award. A subsequent Broadway appearance in 1999 in Parade as Leo Frank, led to a second nomination for the Tony Award for Best Leading Actor in a Musical.

Early life

Carver was born of Welsh and Irish heritage in Cranbrook, British Columbia, the son of Lois (Wills), a clerk, and Kenneth Carver, who was in the lumber business.[1] He was the third of seven children, none of whom went into show business, apart from himself.[2] He almost became a teacher, but continued participating in theatre.[3] He attended the University of British Columbia from 1969 to 1972.[4] He sang from an early age, with his father who played guitar.[5] Carver's favourite actors were Spencer Tracy and Bette Davis.[5]


Carver was known for a variety of stage and film roles, including The Wars, Kronborg: 1582, Lilies, Larry's Party, Elizabeth Rex, Millennium, Shadow Dancing, and Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love.[1] Carver originated the role of Gandalf in the Toronto stage production of The Lord of the Rings and appeared in several Soulpepper Theatre Company productions such as The Wild Duck, Don Carlos and as the Pirate King in the 1985 production of The Pirates of Penzance.

Carver played the character Leo on the series Leo and Me, which aired from 1977 to 1978.

Carver made his U.S. debut in The Tempest, playing Ariel to Anthony Hopkins's Prospero.[1] Carver won a Dora Award as Horst in Bent. His stage work involved an extended association with Canada's Stratford Shakespeare Festival in the 1980s, including an original rock version of Hamlet,[5] as the lead and later in 2000 as Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof.

In 1992, Carver originated the role of Molina in Kander and Ebb's Kiss of the Spider Woman when it premiered at the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts in Toronto. He played the role again at the Shaftesbury Theatre on the West End, where he won the Laurence Olivier Award, and again when the show moved to Broadway in 1993, where he won a Tony Award for his performance, as well as a Drama Desk Award. He dedicated his Tony win to the late Canadian actress Susan Wright, who had died two years earlier in a fire in his Stratford house, Ontario.[1] In May 2014, Carver received a Governor General's Performing Arts Award, Canada's highest honour in the performing arts, for his lifetime contribution to Canadian theatre.

In 1998 Carver returned to Broadway and was nominated for a second Tony Award for his portrayal of Leo Frank in Jason Robert Brown and Alfred Uhry's musical Parade. He was awarded a Drama Desk Award for the same role.

Carver portrayed Ichabod Crane in the 1999 TV film The Legend of Sleepy Hollow which aired on Odyssey.[1] He played the title role in "The Trouble with Harry", an episode of the television series Twice in a Lifetime.[6] He portrayed Leonardo da Vinci in Leonardo: A Dream of Flight in 2002.

In 2003, Carver appeared in the Off-Broadway production of My Life With Albertine at Playwrights Horizons, where he portrayed older Marcel and the Narrator. The production received a nomination for the Drama League Award as Distinguished Production of a Musical.

In 2016, Carver performed in a musical show titled Walk Me to the Corner at the Harold Green Jewish Theatre Company in Toronto.[7]


Carver died on August 4, 2020, at the age of 68[8] at home in Cranbrook.[9][10]





  1. ^ a b c d e Mackay, Susan Ferrier (August 14, 2020). "Tony-winning performer Brent Carver commanded the stage in musicals and Shakespeare". The Globe and Mail. Toronto. Retrieved 2020-08-31. In December, 1991, a fire of unknown origin broke out at his house in Stratford. At the time an adored friend, actor Susan Wright, was staying at the home along with her parents. All three perished in the blaze.
  2. ^ Maxwell, Roger. "Something From Nothing". Playbill, March 19, 2004.
  3. ^ Pacheco, Patrick (May 16, 1993). "THEATER: The Sweet 'Kiss' of Success: After 20 years of anonymity, Brent Carver is being hailed as a new star--with a Tony nod to boot--for his turn in the musical". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2016-08-16.
  4. ^ Charlebois, Gaetan (August 10, 2020). "Carver, Brent". Canadian Theatre Encyclopedia. Athabasca University. Retrieved November 16, 2020.
  5. ^ a b c O'Toole, Lawrence (1993-05-23). "THEATER; A Very Private Actor Leads At Least Two Lives Onstage". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-08-16.
  6. ^ Bawden, Jim (March 17, 2000). "Carver convincingly troubled in rare TV outing". Toronto Star – via David Winning.
  7. ^ Fricker, Karen. "The view from Brent Carver's corner". Toronto Star, November 6, 2016, page E1. Archived 2016-11-09 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Birth 1951
  9. ^ Evans, Greg (August 6, 2020). "Brent Carver Dies: Tony Award-Winning 'Kiss of the Spider Woman' Actor Was 68". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 6, 2020.
  10. ^ Gates, Anita (September 7, 2020). "Brent Carver, 68, Tony Winner for 'Kiss of the Spider Woman". The New York Times. p. A27. Retrieved 2020-08-31. "Kiss of the Spider Woman," a Kander and Ebb musical with a book by Terrence McNally, based on the Oscar-winning 1985 movie and directed by Harold Prince, may have been Mr. Carver's Broadway debut, but he already had an impressive theater career in Canada. He spent nine seasons at the Stratford Theater Festival in Ontario; there and elsewhere in Canada, his roles were legion.