Family and Friends

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My father’s name was Jack Robertson, and he was a schoolteacher, then, later, a principal. Here he is in 1945 making the local paper with a winning hockey team.




My mother’s name is Margaret Robertson, and she grew up on a farm near Grand Bend, Ontario. Here she is in about 1943 on the porch of her parents’ home.




Mom and Dad were married in 1952 and took their honeymoon in New York City. Here they are riding in a carriage in Central Park.




In the late 1940s Dad (back row right) and his brother-in-law, my uncle Wally Scott (front row, second from left) bought a dance hall called The Octagon on the shores of Lake Huron at Sauble Beach, Ontario. Refurbished and re-christened The Sauble Beach Pavilion, the venue would become part of a summer entertainment business that thrived for the next thirty years.

Here’s a portrait of the Pavilion’s resident swing band, Wally Scott and His Orchestra.

(For more photos of the Pavilion check out my Pavilion page, which is here.)




Here’s a marquee from the Pavilion, c. 1952.




The Pavilion - and the showbiz milieu that went with it - was a big part of my life while I was growing up. Every June the whole family would pack up and head for Lake Huron, spending the next three months running dances, movies, bingos, flea markets, and whatever other attractions the building could hold. Then, each September, it was back home again. My childhood was divided into two worlds; summer and sand and water, winter and school and the city.

Over the years, the Pav became somewhat famous in Southern Ontario. Here’s a view of it taken in the mid-1950s as it appeared for years on a Sauble Beach post card.




Running the Pavilion was always a family affair. Here’s a photo taken (my best guess) in about 1956, probably on either May 24 (opening weekend) or Labor Day (closing weekend). All the usual suspects are present: in fact, this is a photograph of the entire Southampton branch of the Robertson family at that time.

That little tyke on the left is my older sister Ann, who looks here just like her own moppet-daughter Hadley would some years later. (Keep scrolling down, you’ll soon see what I mean.)




I arrived on the scene in August 1959. My older sister Ann wasted no time in making me her new toy. Here we are in August 1960, touring the Pav.




1960. Childhood could be exhausting.




A family photo taken sometime in late 1960, probably around Canadian Thanksgiving (that is, mid-October).

This is a favorite simply because there are so many faces here I remember from childhood; my grandmothers Robbie Robertson (on the left) and Edna Taylor (on the right); grandpa Lloyd Taylor (in the middle); plus aunts, uncles, cousins ... and of course, me, Mom, Dad, Ann, and (brand new) baby Mary.




Christmas of 1961. Mary, Ann and myself, lined up by the tree.

Mary’s waving, Ann appears to be trying to smile her head off, and I, of course, am calmly scratching fleas.




Sometime in 1962.

Clearly I’m in training for some of those small dressing rooms I’d be inhabiting one day.




Taken on a Sunday in April, 1964. Here is my mother with Mary and Ann. Nice hats all around, I’d say.




After the girls, the boys got their picture taken too. I’m four years old here.




1966, age seven. The Cub Scouts of Canada never knew what hit ‘em.


1973-09 Paul thm


Here I am in 1973 or so, with a hairstyle that appears to be patterned after a nuclear mushroom cloud. Oh well, it was the seventies.




Sometime in 1974. For the life of me I can’t remember (or figure out) where this photo was taken. It must have been at Sauble Beach, though, because my hair still gets like this when I go in the water and then let it dry on its own.




A real favorite. Here’s Mom and Dad sitting near the front door of the Pavilion. My best guess is this was taken in the summer of 1975.




One day early in the spring of 1976 they called all of the students in my high school out into the back courtyard by the tennis courts, and then somebody got up on the roof and took a picture of us. None of us knew what was exactly going on that day; but we found out later when the photo was printed on the inside font and back covers of our 1976 yearbook.

It’s a big picture, so it’s a big download (200k) - and it’s probably not remotely interesting to anyone else - but I find it fascinating. Not only is it pretty au naturel, but I can also see, in one single photo, just about all of my friends from that whole time period. Wow.




This photo appeared in my high school yearbook in 1977, the year I graduated.

You can see I’ve grown a goatee for the play “Clowns.” The motley mob is, L-R, John MacKenzie, me, Jim Griggs, Doug Elliott. We’re goofing around with some props in the theatre arts department. As you will no doubt note from this and other photos here, I was darn fond of that Boston Bruins sweater.




Another from the same yearbook. That’s my good buddy Mike Royston flinging his hoof at the camera. You’ll see Mike’s name mentioned several times in my Acting Timeline - with good reason. Mike was a gifted actor with considerable presence, imagination, and humor. Within a year of this he and I were off to the University of Waterloo together, enrolled in the Drama program under William Chadwick and Tom Bentley-Fisher.




Clearly I didn’t have enough to do in high school, so besides drama club, hockey, football and schoolwork I was also in the school band. This was also taken in 1977.

BTW, just for the record, this photo is ironic because I never learned to play the trombone terribly well. (Look closely at Laurie Smith’s expression - you can tell!) It was the euphonium I liked.




By 1980 I was living in Toronto and taking my first toddling steps as a professional actor. This is the first place I lived at; 125 Lyndhurst Street, a boarding house near St. Clair and Bathurst Streets. My room was an enclosed porch in the back - all windows, very pretty, and cold as hell.




I had recently bought a camera and started roaming around at all hours of the day and night snapping photographs. This is St. Clair looking West, late one night. Kind of blurry, but kind of cool.




Here’s the camera in question (and its charming operator). I took this around April 1980 on a trip home to see the folks.




Later on in 1980 I met and fell in love with Linda Pakri. By the end of the summer we were living together in her small apartment on Bedford Road near the U of T campus. Here’s Linda in the kitchen of same, making popcorn.




James Falcon in 1980 - friend, actor, and the guy I owe eternal thanks to for introducing me to Buddies in Bad Times, my first theatre company in Toronto.




My good friend Ken McDougall, taken in about 1981. Ken was a bold, brave, witty, and brilliant actor, writer and director. Also a very funny guy. He died in 1994. I miss him terribly.




Yet another good buddy from around this time, actor Paul Amato - looking a bit bleary (must’ve been before noon).




Another one of Linda in Toronto, taken in 1981.




Linda and I moved to New York in 1982, but we made it back to Canada for Christmas the following year. Here’s a picture of Brian Van Norman at his house in Cambridge in December, 1983. He was throwing a party that included many members of the old Glenview drama-club gang; it was a blast.

Brian is also mentioned several times in my Acting Timeline. Over the years he’s become an accomplished playwright, director, and novelist.




Ann and Jeff’s Wedding in Toronto, 1983.

Linda and I went back to Toronto to be at my sister Ann’s wedding to Jeffrey Feingold in 1983. I was the only one with a camera half the time, so I became the de facto wedding photographer. I can’t speak for them all, but this picture came out just lovely. Left to Right, that’s Dad, Mom, Jeff, Ann, Millie, and Julie. What a lovely group! Ann and Jeff now live in New York City with their little girl Hadley.




Dad in Paris in 1984, taken by Mom. I always loved this one.

Mom and Dad remained married until my father’s death in 1989, and they were always the best of friends. They loved traveling - in fact, Mom still loves to hit the road. In recent years she’s been to Ireland and Switzerland. I’m going to have to get her an international cell phone just so I can speak with her once in a while...!




In late August, 1986 Linda and I took a vacation from New York City and traveled to Los Angeles, California. We saw a lot of sights and I took some fun photographs along the way.

Here’s a favorite: a panorama of Linda on the pier at Redondo Beach. I took about ten photographs to catch the scene, then stitched them together later using Photoshop.




During the same trip we also saw the Spruce Goose, Howard Hughes’ gigantic flying boat, which was then being kept in a hangar in Long Beach right beside the Queen Mary. Again, I took a bunch of photos and then stitched them together to get this result.

It was a very dramatic setting as you can see; a huge black hangar with a rippling pond in the middle. This photo gives some idea of the lighting but comes nowhere near conveying the sheer vastness of that airplane.






Labor Day Weekend, 1986. At the end of our holiday Linda and I flew to Las Vegas to join our friends Bruce and Linda Charash. Bruce’s father, Leon, is a pediatric neurologist who over the years has become very involved with the Muscular Dystrophy Foundation. He is also, by coincidence, a childhood friend of Jerry Lewis. For these reasons, for many years Leon would fly to Las Vegas to be the set doctor for the Jerry Lewis Labor Day Muscular Dystrophy Telethon. He did this up until 1986, when Bruce - also a doctor - took over the job.

‘Set doctor’ sounds important, and it was; Bruce was responsible for the health of everybody on the show throughout the 24-hour broadcast. Much more important than this, however, were the perks. Bruce, with Linda and I in tow, got the deluxe treatment all weekend. Which meant we spent 72 hours sashaying around Caesars Palace like we owned the place, rubbing elbows with Jerry, Ed McMahon, Casey Kasem, Robert Goulet, Sammy Davis, Jr., Suzanne Somers, and a host of others. What fun!

I was a little nervous about bringing out a camera during the show because I wasn’t sure of the legalities. So I only took a few quick shots during the actual broadcast. The top two were taken at about 1:00 AM. As you can see, our seats were practically in the front row. The bottom photo is Linda (looking just beautiful), sitting in the seats earlier in the evening, before the audience had started to arrive.




With my fondness for panoramas, here’s one of the entire Jerry Lewis Telethon studio for that year.




Here’s Linda with our very good friend Arunas Ciuberkis. Arunas is a wonderful actor (mentioned many times in my Scrapbook), and also a dedicated translator and, of all things, a highly talented speech pathologist. Since moving away from New York I miss him (and his great sense of humor) a great deal.

Linda and I separated in late 1989 and were divorced in 1990. However, we remained good friends over the years and kept in close touch. Tragically, she was badly injured in a fire in her apartment at the end of July, 2003, and passed away on August 10. I have written about this in more detail here, and I have placed more photographs of here here.





By mid-1990 I was still living in New York but was already thinking about moving to the West Coast. I made a trip there in June to reconnoiter, and stayed at one point with my pal Mo Gaffney.

Mo and I stayed up late but had to make an early start the next day ... so of course in the morning we both found ourselves stumbling half-awake around the bathroom trying to brush our teeth. On a whim I got out my camera and took a couple of photos. To my delight, they perfectly captured how we felt at the time: fuzzy and dreamy and still half-asleep.

I swear these aren’t doctored in any way. That one of her in the mirror in particular looks like some kind of paste job - but I promise you, it came back from the lab looking just like that!




My other great pal when I first moved to L.A. was Cecilia Reed, who helped me get my first apartment and was a good buddy while I got my feet on the ground. I haven’t talked to her in years but still smile every time I think of her. Here we are at the L.A. Farmers’ Market sometime in 1990.




Here’s Ann and Jeff with their beautiful new baby girl, Hadley Jack Feingold, born in September of 1994. I didn’t get to meet Hadley myself until nearly two years later. She’s an extraordinary, beautiful, smart little girl, and I love her dearly.




Mom and her three sisters, taken in Bayfield, Ontario, during the summer of 1994. From Left to Right that’s Margaret (Marg), Frances (Fran), Isabel (Tish), and Alice.

When I was growing up we used to travel to one or another sister’s house each year on Christmas day, and with all the cousins and (later on) their boyfriends & girlfriends it made for quite a crowd. But it was always a lot of fun too.




October of 1998. Ann, Jeff and Hadley live on the upper west side in New York. I wish I were nearer so I could see them more often.




It’s June of 1996 and wedding bells for my dear friend Brian Van Norman and his terrific wife Susie. I mention Brian many times in my Acting Scrapbook; I’ve known him since 1975. I didn’t get to meet Susie until 2000 when they visited Los Angeles on a holiday, but she quickly became one of my favorite people too. The two of them make a wonderful couple.




A photo Mom took of the family house in Galt during the winter of 1997. It almost looks like a postcard. When I was a kid, of course, I’d be shoveling all this stuff. I like it much better this way!




Mom on the beach at Sauble, taken by Mary in July of 1999. The picture is looking North; the distant point is about 3 1/2 miles away.


2001-08 Brian and Susie thm


In the summer of 2001 I was delighted to see Brian and Susan Van Norman come to Los Angeles for a few day’s holiday. It was almost surreal to show my old friend from high school around Hollywood. Here are a few snapshots taken along the way.




A friend sent me this photo, taken in December 2001. It’s an ice sculpture by a woman in Timmins, Ontario, in honor of the heroes of September 11. I think it’s quite beautiful and moving.




I noticed the other day I had hardly any pictures of my good friends in this photo gallery. So let me change that - and start by introducing you to two of my favorite people in the world, Jill Gascoine and Tori King. Jill and I met during The Sea Gull a few years ago and have been in several plays together since. She’s a magical woman, very funny, very dear. Tori and I, meanwhile, have been best friends since the fall of 2000 when I saw her show The More Men Weigh and fell in love. This lovely picture of them both was taken at Jill and her husband Alfred Molina’s house in Hollywood, early 2002.




Around the same time, here I am with Dan Gibbons and Laura Niemi on a visit to the L.A. Zoo. Both are terrific actors and good pals. Tori’s the one taking the picture.




Another group of Circus Theatricals friends, this time from an after-show party at the Odyssey in May of 2002. From left to right that’s John Ross Clark, Jack Stehlin, Byron Field, Vanessa Hopkins and Jerry Lambert.




Hadley and Jeff, taken at the cottage at Sauble in August 2002. Good thing I wasn’t there: these two look like a couple of card sharks.




Here I am in August 2002 at Tori’s apartment. I was in The Cherry Orchard at the time and so I’m wearing my Pischik beard. In fact, I liked the darn thing so much I still have it now.




It’s September 2002 and here’s a picture of three very dear friends, Allison Marich, Tori King and Elise Robertson, taken at Elise and her boyfriend Mouncie’s new apartment. This photo is a good example why I find it hard to get depressed about life, because these talented and beautiful creatures are my friends. Which means I’m some kind of very lucky fellow.




Myself and Hadley, in front of Mary’s house, Christmas 2002. We were supposed to be shoveling snow but as you can see I’m about to get plastered.




Tom the Cat was originally named Tony when Linda and I adopted him in 1984 in New York City. In March of 2003 he turned 18, so I took this, his birthday portrait.

With very poignant timing Tom died of old age here in my apartment on the very same day as Linda’s funeral - Saturday, August 16, 2003. Of my little one-time family of three, I’m all that’s left.




Speaking of my apartment, here’s the house in back of which I used to live in Los Angeles. It’s located at the corner of Hudson Street & Willoughby Avenue in Hollywood. I took this one foggy morning in September 2003.




The fog continued for several days so one night I went out and roamed my neighborhood, taking the camera with me. This is still September of 2003.




For Christmas 2003 my family broke with tradition and went to nobody’s home, but instead gathered at Mohonk Mountain House in upstate New York. I’d never heard of it, but it turned out to be one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. Here are some snapshots I took. I can only hope they do it justice.




April 2004. I got a new cell phone (finally) the other day and it has a camera in it, so I decided to do a test picture. But you know, I’m just so darn photogenic ... maybe this is my new headshot?



July 15, 2005. I know the date of this photo precisely because it was the last day of my road trip from Los Angeles, California to my current home in St. Paul, Minnesota. I had just hit the state of Minnesota an hour ago and needed gas, so I pulled over for a fill-up. That’s when I saw this thing. I was so delighted that for the first and only time on the whole trip I took out my camera for a photo.

Welcome to my new home!

(You can read more about the trip in my weblog by going here.)




October 2005. I’m now living in St. Paul, Minnesota, and enjoying (among other things) the fabulous natural beauty of this part of the world. Here’s a couple of photos that were taken the other day looking out from my balcony. Look at that gorgeous color!


November 2005. Yours truly, taken the other day in the bathroom mirror.



NOTE: As of December 2006 I have joined, a website for photo enthusiasts. I’ll continue to update this photo gallery from time to time but Flickr is definitely where new photos will go first. Come check it out! My Flickr home page is here: