Actor Pat John aged 69 passed away on the 13 of July. Earlier this week the Beachcombers co-star Jackson Davies, revealed the news of his demise on Facebook. He disclosed that John had been facing several health issues for a long time now.
Pat John’s Career On TV
“He was funny, kind, and although he didn’t get the credit he should have, he was also a very good actor. He had the greatest laugh ever, and it was my goal in life to get him to laugh, just to hear it. Somehow when PJ laughed the world was OK again.”
The show ran for 19 years, from October 1972 to December 1990 and Pat John was in it for the entirety of the runtime. It was one of the longest-running dramatic series of that time, airing around 350 episodes.
The show originally ran on ITV in the United Kingdom
It was later rerun on other popular channels including the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (ATPN).
He also played a role in a 2002 made-for-TV movie, The New Beachcombers, a renewal of the show. It was broadcast in November of 2002 for CBC’s 50th anniversary and the 30th anniversary of the show’s first episode.
Early Life of Pat John
Born in 1953, John was a member of the shíshálh First Nation. He received schooling from St. Augustine’s residential school in Sechelt and later joined a local sawmill. After the end of Beachcombers, he began doing clam and shellfish harvesting.
He was one of the first indigenous people to play a non-caricature role.
Shirley McLean, a TV producer from Carcross/Tagish First Nation in Yukon, said that she grew up watching John. She praised him for being a trailblazer for indigenous actors and their. representation
“Seeing an Indigenous character on TV was something that we were proud of, something that normalized us in mainstream society.”
Fans Write Tributes In His Memory
Despite having appeared in only a series and one movie, fans remember him with a fondness for his work. Twitter started flooding with tributes at the news of his death.
Fans remember him as the first indigenous actor they saw on TV and felt represented.
“Seeing yourself represented matters.”
Some fans even praised called Pat for being a “groundbreaker”. For the first time, they saw themselves represented in a “positive contemporary way on Canadian TV” due to his role. Others admitted to having crushes on the actor when they were kids and the show being the highlight of their Sundays.
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