A Shit Leopard Can't Change its Spots.
October 16, 2017 7:00 PM   Subscribe

John Dunsworth, who played park supervisor Jim Lahey in the long running Canadian series The Trailer Park Boys, has died at the age of 71.
posted by lkc (56 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
 
Aw man. He was a guest instructor for my Acting & Directing for Film and Television class and was very nice and approachable. Seemed a little sad none of us wanted to go into acting though. 20 students and the vast majority were aspiring directors (I wanted to be an editor).
posted by ODiV at 7:07 PM on October 16 [5 favorites]


And I also wanted to link this wonderful video of him working with cement.
posted by lkc at 7:10 PM on October 16 [28 favorites]


Instead of pouring a drink in his honor, pour some cement boys.

(It's also worth noting that Dunsworth did all of his scenes sober.)
posted by Catblack at 7:12 PM on October 16 [6 favorites]


Well, shit.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 7:18 PM on October 16 [2 favorites]


He did seem a bit remorseful that as his work in casting had increased he'd not been able to act as much so I was glad when I found out that he'd gotten back into acting.
posted by ODiV at 7:20 PM on October 16 [1 favorite]


Fuckin' way she goes.
posted by dirigibleman at 7:21 PM on October 16 [12 favorites]


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He's out there somewhere watching over us. Like a shit hawk.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 7:23 PM on October 16 [5 favorites]


Shit angel has his shit wings.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 7:23 PM on October 16 [11 favorites]


(It's also worth noting that Dunsworth did all of his scenes sober.)

I believe he had a big part in getting slot machines restricted for encouraging compulsive behavior, in part from his own demons. There is a reason he could play such a compelling drunk, even sober.
posted by lkc at 7:26 PM on October 16 [3 favorites]




In my advertising days, I had the great pleasure to work with John on some radio commercials. We did a series on some "gourmet" cookies (a ridiculous product that quickly failed). In one of the scripts I had John talk about them in outlandishly glowing terms, ending with the line, "I'd recommend drinking a white with this, a 2% or perhaps homogenized". At first he looked weirdly puzzled, then he got it and broke into a big smile. After that, the characters just came out. He did multiple voices for each of the commercials, each more outlandish than the last. In between takes, he'd tell stories and jokes. He gave us volumes of professional material and some of the most risque, dirty humour imaginable in equal measure. It was an immense pleasure working with him.

He was such a great guy, willing to help those just starting out, treating those around him with respect, and having fun. The days I directed him in the recording studio were some of my best times in advertising. He had an idea for a television series and wanted me to help him create it. We kept trying to co-ordinate it but couldn't find the time. Damn, I wish I'd made the time.

By the way, those cookie commercials were the first I wrote to win an international award. Thanks, John.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 7:35 PM on October 16 [38 favorites]


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posted by riruro at 7:38 PM on October 16


His office -- he ran the extras casting place in Halifax, putting people in the backgrounds of many a Lifetime MOW POS -- was a block away from my house. Just looked it up on google...it's a vacant lot now.

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posted by Sys Rq at 7:46 PM on October 16 [1 favorite]


Watching Trailer Park Boys, I kept getting this image in my head of Dunsworth's Lahey and Michael Hogan's Saul Tigh trading places on their shows, because they've got juuust enough of a similar look and drinking problem. I just get a kick out of the idea of Lahey on Galactica slurring about frackin' shit-bots and the boys in the trailer park having to deal with scary New Caprica Resistance Tigh.
posted by jason_steakums at 7:46 PM on October 16 [18 favorites]


I love the show, and love his character on the show. Is there anyone else who can play a better drunk? That guy was next level.

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posted by chunking express at 7:49 PM on October 16 [2 favorites]


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posted by northtwilight at 7:53 PM on October 16


The Lahey election speech is profound.
posted by ovvl at 8:09 PM on October 16 [5 favorites]


A friend of mine was in a student short film with him. My friend, a character for sure, but a non-actor had been roped into the project via a kitchen party he had stumbled into (he was never clear on the particulars). Dunsworth was the consummate professional on set despite the unlikelihood of getting paid. He took my friend under his wing, giving him pointers and calming anxieties. I'm not sure if the film ever helped anyone's career but my friend enjoyed his experience & was deeply impressed by Dunsworth both by his professionalism in such a ridiculous production and his desire to support local young talent. He'll be missed.

Though he's likely best known for Trailer Park Boys, Dunsworth does turn up a few times during the run of the oddball sci-fi series Lexx (including during the musical episode which was the high point of the show I think).
posted by Ashwagandha at 8:20 PM on October 16 [6 favorites]


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posted by ellieBOA at 8:30 PM on October 16


Oh I just remembered a pet theory - I seriously wonder if Heath Ledger took some influence from Lahey for his Joker. Because there's totally something there when Lahey's at his drunkest, some similarity in mannerisms and inflections that's soooo close.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:38 PM on October 16 [4 favorites]


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posted by LiteOpera at 8:44 PM on October 16 [1 favorite]


Please watch New Waterford Girl, for so many reasons including seeing "Mr. Lahey" in an actual roll.

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There's a shit storm brewing so you better haul in the jib before it gets covered in shit.
posted by Cosine at 9:06 PM on October 16 [3 favorites]


Please watch New Waterford Girl, for so many reasons including seeing "Mr. Lahey" in an actual roll.

Would asking what type of roll he's actually in spoil the link? I'm guessing a sausage roll.
posted by juiceCake at 9:22 PM on October 16 [1 favorite]


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posted by Sphinx at 9:36 PM on October 16


"I am the liquor, Randy" is the most real line about alcoholism ever in any medium.

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posted by Space Coyote at 10:12 PM on October 16 [19 favorites]


And I also wanted to link this wonderful video of him working with cement.

I want to super-favorite this. And not be weeping.
posted by figurant at 10:20 PM on October 16 [3 favorites]


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posted by easy, lucky, free at 10:55 PM on October 16


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posted by Kosmob0t at 11:16 PM on October 16




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posted by misteraitch at 12:22 AM on October 17


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posted by FallowKing at 4:22 AM on October 17


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posted by Trivia Newton John at 4:34 AM on October 17


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posted by valkane at 4:49 AM on October 17


what goes around is all around

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posted by rebent at 5:52 AM on October 17 [5 favorites]


I guess this really is the worst-case Ontario
posted by kcds at 6:15 AM on October 17 [8 favorites]


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posted by Elmore at 6:41 AM on October 17


"I'm sober enough to know what I'm doing but drunk enough to really enjoy it"

... that one always stuck with me.

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posted by RolandOfEld at 6:49 AM on October 17 [6 favorites]


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posted by MILNEWSca at 6:58 AM on October 17


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posted by Dressed to Kill at 7:15 AM on October 17


F.

May the shithawks fly eternal in Valhalla, brother.
posted by theorique at 8:45 AM on October 17


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posted by bilabial at 8:50 AM on October 17


Would asking what type of roll he's actually in spoil the link? I'm guessing a sausage roll.

It's Nova Scotia. Lobster roll, obviously.

(New Waterford Girl is pretty good, incidentally.)
posted by Sys Rq at 9:15 AM on October 17


He's finally the monkey in charge of bananas. RIP, brother.

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posted by spoobnooble II: electric bugaboo at 9:34 AM on October 17


I AM THE LIQUOR.

The TPB writers and crew really lucked out getting Dunham to play Lahey, because he was the glue or mortar that held that show and cast together. I simply can't imagine it being played by anyone else. And as I understand it he held the cast and crew together multiple times just by being the most professional and hardest working actor on the set.

The first time I heard he was actually sober during all of those scenes I didn't believe it, and I didn't believe it for years until I saw an interview of him out of role. (Keep in mind that early TPB fans had basically zero access to the show in the US for the first few seasons. People in the US were only able to obtain the show at all via P2P file sharing and it was so obscure and niche that you only heard about the show via word of mouth, so the rumors were rampant.)
posted by loquacious at 11:37 AM on October 17 [6 favorites]


Might have to watch the Christmas special a little early this year...
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posted by Bacon Bit at 1:47 PM on October 17


🥃
posted by bonobothegreat at 4:25 PM on October 17


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posted by proneSMK at 7:14 PM on October 17


After watching the concrete video, watch this one with the completed amphitheatre and a "magic door" with a magical wire man inside.

The other thing I'll always remember about John Dunsworth is that he was very fast to speak out publicly in support of Lucy Decoutere when she accused Jian Ghomeshi of sexual assault. He had enough distance from the situation that he could have stayed quiet or only offered support in private, but he didn't.
posted by tobascodagama at 7:21 PM on October 17 [4 favorites]


Oh man. I hope his family finishes that door, or at least that pool.
posted by figurant at 9:38 PM on October 17 [1 favorite]


"When I saw the caption that read "150,000 YEARS LATER" I was really hoping to finally see our massively-liquored Colonel Tigh supervising a trailer park in Nova Scotia. THIS WILL ALL HAPPEN AGAIN."
posted by Wallace Shawn at 10:54 PM on October 17 [3 favorites]


Go with the liquor, bud.

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posted by Uther Bentrazor at 7:40 AM on October 18


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posted by kilo hertz at 9:49 AM on October 18


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posted by not_on_display at 9:58 AM on October 18


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posted by hap_hazard at 7:09 PM on October 18


Great vid tobascodagama...I'm going to try saying, "Ta-daaa!" on a daily basis.
posted by bonobothegreat at 4:34 AM on October 19 [1 favorite]


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posted by salix at 8:39 AM on November 13


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