Janet Wright
Born(1945-03-08)March 8, 1945
DiedNovember 14, 2016(2016-11-14) (aged 71)
Years active1969–2014
Known forCorner Gas
Spouse(s)Brian Richmond
Bruce Davis
Children3 (2 with Richmond, 1 with Davis)

Janet Wright (March 8, 1945 – November 14, 2016) was an English-born Canadian actress and theatre director.[1] She was best known for her role as Emma Leroy on the Canadian sitcom, Corner Gas. She performed in many film and television shows, and she also acted in, and directed, dozens of theatre productions in Saskatoon, Vancouver, and at the Stratford Festival.

Early life and education

Wright was born in Farnborough, Hampshire, England.[2] Wright grew up as the eldest of four siblings (the others being Susan, John, and Anne) who have all participated in Canadian theatre.[3]


Wright, along with her sister Susan, co-founded the Persephone Theatre company in Saskatoon in 1974. Wright's first husband, Brian Richmond, became the theatre's director.[2] Wright later worked at the Vancouver Arts Club Theatre where she appeared in and directed more than 40 productions.[2][4] She also appeared in several other productions in live theatre across Canada, and at the Stratford Festival in Ontario. Her theatre work eventually led to television and film roles in Canada and the United States.[3]

In 1991, she performed at the Stratford Festival with her sisters Anne and Susan in Les Belles-soeurs, to positive reviews.[2] In 1995, she was the first woman to play the title role in King Lear, for Canadian Stage in Toronto.[5] Wright acted in the film Bordertown Café, for which she received a best actress Genie Award in 1992. In 2003 she was named best supporting actress in a dramatic program or miniseries at the Gemini Awards for her role in Betrayed.[6]

From 2004 to 2009, she played Emma Leroy in the television series Corner Gas. In this role she won a 2006 Canadian Comedy Award for Pretty Funny TV Female.[6] The show also won a Gemini Award in 2007.[6]

Wright continued her involvement with the Vancouver Arts Club Theatre, directing several contemporary American plays, including Katori Hall's The Mountaintop and Ayad Akhtar's Disgraced in 2015.[7] She continued acting from time to time at the Stratford Festival, lastly in 2011, when she played Ma Joad in The Grapes of Wrath.[2][6]


Wright's sister Susan was killed in a fire in 1991 in Stratford, Ontario, along with their parents, Jack and Ruth (née Preston) Wright.[8]

In January 2004, Wright's daughter Rachel Davis (aged 23) was fatally shot while intervening for a stranger who was being beaten in front of the Purple Onion bar in Vancouver, B.C. In July 2006, the shooter was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder, five counts of attempted murder and five counts of aggravated assault. His first degree murder conviction triggered an automatic sentence of life imprisonment with no chance of parole until 2029.[9]

Wright and her second husband, Bruce Davis, along with the rest of their family, started the Rachel Davis Foundation. The foundation presents an award to a young person (aged 17–23) who has demonstrated an outstanding act of kindness or compassion.[10]


Wright died on the morning of November 14, 2016, in Vancouver, aged 71, from undisclosed causes.[11][12]


Year Title Role Notes
1969 Obscene House
1971 McCabe & Mrs. Miller Eunice
1974 The Wolfpen Principle Miss Mervin
1978 The Wiz The Wiz Singers Voice, Uncredited
1982 Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains Brenda
1986 Loyalties Audrey Sawchuk
1987 American Gothic Fanny
1987 Home Is Where the Hart Is J.P.'s Wife
1988 Cowboys Don't Cry Pearl
1991 Bingo Waitress
1992 Bordertown Café Maxine
1999 The Boondock Saints Annabelle MacManus
2000 The Perfect Storm Ethel Shatford
2001 Chasing Cain Sonia
2001 Lola Ma Keller
2002 Blackwoods Ma Franklin
2002 Rollerball Coach Olga
2003 Emile Alice
2003 Arbor Vitae Senior Nurse Short film
2003 Thoughtcrimes Zoya TV movie
2006 Love and Other Dilemmas Jojo Ladro
2010 Ramona and Beezus Grandma Kemp
2012 The Tall Man Trish
2014 Corner Gas: The Movie Emma Leroy
Year Title Role Notes
1975 Peep Show Lucy Episode: "The Victim"
1978 Who'll Save Our Children? Television film
1979 Huckleberry Finn and His Friends Mrs. Judith Loftus Episode: "The Rains Come"
1979 King of Kensington Evelyn Episode: "Big Brother"
1983 The Best Christmas Pageant Ever Helen Armstrong Television film
1984 The Three Wishes of Billy Grier Woman in Bar Television film
1985 Brotherly Love Helen Neary Television film
1986 The Girl Who Spelled Freedom Woman Neighbor Television film
1987 Deadly Deception Desk clerk Television film
1987 After the Promise Waitress Television film
1987 The Beachcombers Didee Episode: "Disposable People"
1987 Christmas Comes to Willow Creek Martha Jane Television film
1988 Laura Lansing Slept Here Television film
1988-1989 Wiseguy Millicent/Mabel Episodes: "Revenge of the Mud People" and "All or Nothing"
1993-1994 Street Legal Doris Banachowska/Jessica Grant Episodes: "The Price"
Episode: "Strange Bedfellows," "The Long and Winding Road," and "The Long and Winding Road"
1994 Neon Rider Michelle Pfeiffer Episode: "Where the Buffalo Roam"
1996 My Mother's Ghost Television film
1996 Beyond the Call Fran Television film
1996 We the Jury Gladys McKenzie Television film
1997 Fast Track Charlotte Scannel Episode: "Triangle"
1998 Eerie, Indiana: The Other Dimension Mrs. Floyd Episode: "I'm Okay, You're Really Weird"
1998 Mr. Headmistress Naomi Bascombe Television film
1998 Due South Sgt. Sam Thorn Episode: "Mountie on the Bounty: Part 2"
1998-1999 Emily of New Moon Aunt Thom Episodes: "A Shadow in His Dream," "When the Bough Breaks," and "Bred in the Bone"
1999 More Tales of the City Vita Keating TV miniseries
1999 Redwall Constance (voice) 36 episodes
1999 Lexx Lorca Episode: "Love Grows"
2000 Redwall: The Movie Constance Television film
2000 Mattimeo: A Tale of Redwall Constance/Ghost of Martin (voice) TV series
2001 Hostage Rescue Team Simone Television film
2001 Lexx First Lady Priest Episode: "Texx Lexx"
Episode: "Stan Down"
2001 Dark Angel Annie Episode: "Proof of Purchase"
2002 Framed Television film
2002 The Chris Isaak Show Evie Episode: "Farm Boys"
2002 Monk Bonnie 3 episodes
2002 Taken Patty Episode: "God's Equation"
2003 Betrayed Dr. Fleming Television film
2003 Jinnah: On Crime - White Knight, Black Widow Frosty Television film
2003 A Tale of Two Wives Phyllis Television film
2003 Phenomenon II Jeri Television film
2004 Kingdom Hospital Liz Hinton 10 episodes
2004-2009 Corner Gas Emma Leroy 107 episodes
2007 Whistler Episode: "The Rules of Attachment: Part II"
Episode: "Last Run"
2008 Wisegal Patty Montanari's Mother Television film
2009 Memory Lanes Sarah Duggen Television film

Awards and nominations

Janet Wright awards and nominations
  1. ^ Certain award groups do not simply award one winner. They recognize several different recipients, have runners-up, and have third place. Since this is a specific recognition and is different from losing an award, runner-up mentions are considered wins in this award tally. For simplification and to avoid errors, each award in this list has been presumed to have had a prior nomination.
Year Nominated work Event Award Result Ref
1992 Bordertown Café Genie Awards Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role Won [13]
2001 Chasing Cain Gemini Awards Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Supporting Role in a Dramatic Program or Mini-Series Nominated [13]
2003 Betrayed Won [13]
2004 Corner Gas Best Ensemble Performance in a Comedy Program or Series Nominated [13]
Canadian Comedy Awards Best Female TV Performance Nominated [14]
2006 Won [15]
Gemini Awards Best Ensemble Performance in a Comedy Program or Series Nominated
2007 Won [13]
2008 Canadian Comedy Awards Best Female TV Performance Nominated [16]


  1. ^ "Theatre Review: Brighton Beach Memoirs". Monday Magazine, Jul 29, 2013
  2. ^ a b c d e J. Kelly Nestruck, "Janet Wright played wise-cracking matriarch on Corner Gas", The Globe and Mail. November 14, 2016.
  3. ^ a b "The Canadian Encyclopedia". Historica Canada. 2006-07-27. Retrieved 2015-05-16.
  4. ^ "Janet Wright: A look back at the theatre years". Vancouver Sun, Cylla von Tiedemann
  5. ^ "No gender rules for Rose's King Lear". Toronto Star, March 19, 1995.
  6. ^ a b c d "Saskatoon arts icon, award-winning 'Corner Gas' star Janet Wright dead at 71", Saskatoon Star-Phoenix, November 14, 2016.
  7. ^ "DISGRACED". VancouverPlays, volume 135, September 2015.
  8. ^ "The Death of Susan Wright". Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 2, No. 336. 1991-12-31. Retrieved 2015-01-03.
  9. ^ "Gastown gunman convicted of 1st-degree murder". CBC News. 2006-07-27. Retrieved 2011-07-25.
  10. ^ "Rachel Davis Foundation". racheldavis.ca. Retrieved 2011-07-25.
  11. ^ "Award-winning 'Corner Gas' star Janet Wright dead at 71". CTV News. November 14, 2016.
  12. ^ Lauren La Rose, "Actor Janet Wright, Emma from Corner Gas is dead at 71", thestar.com, November 14, 2016.
  13. ^ a b c d e "awards database". academy.ca. Archived from the original on December 24, 2016. Retrieved December 23, 2016.
  14. ^ "Nominations & Awards Archives". Canadian Comedy Awards. The Canadian Comedy Foundation for Excellence. Retrieved October 21, 2017.
  15. ^ "Canadian comic performers to celebrate at annual awards". CBC News. Retrieved December 23, 2016.
  16. ^ "Nominations & Awards Archives". Canadian Comedy Awards. The Canadian Comedy Foundation for Excellence. Retrieved October 21, 2017.