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Melanie Morse MacQuarrie
Born Melanie Virginia Sydney Morse MacQuarrie, she made a splash from the very beginning of her life, when, upon her birth on June 13, 1945, she made newspaper headlines as one of the largest babies born in the United Kingdom. She weighed in at a whopping 11 pounds, 9 ounces! Her birth made news in the London, England newspapers.
Hayward, Sydney, Barry, and Melanie Morse in 1955
After the Morse family emigrated from England to Canada in 1951, she began acting in numerous productions on stage and television alongside her Father, Brother, and Mother, Sydney Sturgess. As a teenager at the age of 19, she won a scholarship to the famed Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in London.
Her film work includes roles in Race Home to Die, Prom Night with Jamie Lee Curtis, and Murder by Phone with Richard Chamberlain. On-stage she performed in such productions as Boeing-Boeing, Electra, Les Belles Soeurs, Queen Street Scrolls, The Police, Little Malcolm and his Struggle Against the Eunuchs, and The Beautiful People. In Boston, Massachusetts she performed in Peter Pan and Much Ado About Nothing. She became a member of the Canada Shakespeare Stratford Festival in 1970, appearing in The Merchant of Venice, Cymbeline, and School for Scandal. On radio, she appeared in such programs as Cuckoo Clock House, CBC Stage, and CBC Wednesday Night.
Her TV appearances include Noises in the Nursery, Drought, The Crucible, and the popular Canadian series Street Legal as 'Judge Dixon' in the episode "Act of Silence". Other roles included A Clearing in the Woods, The Reluctant Agent, and A Matter of No Importance. In the early 1970s she joined the Ryerson University Drama department in Toronto, where she worked for 30 years prior to her retirement in 1991. She was also a talent representative with Phoenix Artists Management in the 1970s and 1980s.
Barry and Melanie in 1999
In 1999, Melanie traveled to the USA to support her father at the taping of his TV special and one-man show Merely Players. Melanie was in the audience for the live taping and her yells of "Bravo" can still be heard during the curtain call in the broadcast itself! She also appeared with him in a mid-program commercial urging viewers to support Parkinson's disease treatment and research. Melanie became ill in late 2004 and after a number of weeks of illness, the daughter of Barry Morse , passed away in the early morning hours of February 1, 2005. Her younger brother, Hayward Morse, said, "She was at home with her adored and adoring husband and she went peacefully in her sleep, which I think is what she would have wanted; but still at 59 years old I can hardly believe it."
Melanie is survived by her husband, Donald MacQuarrie; her two daughters, Vanessa and Megan-Louise; and several grandchildren. Additional photographs, memories, and information about Melanie is included in Barry Morse's theatrical memoir Remember with Advantages, released by McFarland and Company publishers.
Barry and Melanie in 1999
Upon the passing of her Mother, Sydney in September 1999, Melanie wrote the following message: "I know that all of you who knew her - Mummy and Daddy's friends and professional colleagues - will not soon forget the gentle, gracious lady who has left us and will miss her as much as we, her family, do." Those words also aptly reflect the feelings of all those who knew Melanie. A Canadian memorial celebration of life was held at the Performing Arts Lodge (PAL) in Toronto, on Sunday, March 6, 2005. A British memorial celebration of life was held in London, England on Sunday, June 12, 2005. These were wonderful gatherings that allowed her Canadian and British family and friends to their memories and honor her life. Should you wish to commemorate the memory of Melanie Morse MacQuarrie, donations may be made in her name to the Performing Arts Lodges of Canada, 110 The Esplanade, Toronto, Ontario M5E 1X9, Canada.
Melanie and baby brother Hayward with Nanny, Daphne Madison, 1949
The Melanie Morse MacQuarrie Webpage is maintained
by playwright and author Anthony Wynn