‘Scanners’ actor Lawrence Dane dies at 84

TORONTO – Lawrence Dane, who played a dubious security head in David Cronenberg’s telekinesis thriller “Scanners” and guest-starred in a myriad of television series, has died at 84.

Friend and fellow actor Chuck Shamata says the Canadian character actor died in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont. on Monday of pancreatic cancer.

Dane built his acting career with an array of roles in the movies and on television that showcased his presence as an authoritative figure.

In the horror-comedy film “Bride of Chucky” he was an ill-fated private investigator who learns crucial information in his final moments, while on “The Red Green Show” his recurring character Reg Hunter was a divorced lawyer who retreated to the sticks.

Born the youngest of six kids in Masson, Que., now part of Gatineau, his performing career took shape on the small screen.

His earliest parts were on “R.C.M.P.,” a 1959 CBC drama about the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and 1960s family series “The Forest Rangers.”

Eventually, he began working in Hollywood with guest-starring roles on 1960s network TV series “Mission: Impossible,” “The Mod Squad” and “The F.B.I.” — in all three cases playing different characters on different seasons, a common practice at the time.

A starring role in Cronenberg’s 1981 cult hit “Scanners” as Braedon Keller, head of security at weaponry firm ConSec, sent Dane’s career to new heights.

For the rest of the decade, he turned up in an array of Canadian movies of the tax-shelter era, including one-by-one slasher “Happy Birthday to Me,” rat-infestation thriller “Of Unknown Origin” and monster truck rape-revenge story “Rolling Vengeance.”

He also worked behind the camera, co-writing and directing the 1984 drama “Heavenly Bodies,” a Toronto-shot film that revolves around the dancercize fad of the time.

By the 1990s, Dane was appearing in recurring parts on “Street Legal” as Judge Appleby, “The Red Green Show,” and “Queer as Folk” as the father of one of the main characters.

In a self-written obituary, Dane credited his fellow Canadian actors for blazing trails outside the country that he rode in his own career.

“They made it so much easier for us newcomers,” he wrote.

“When we were asked, ‘Where are you from?’ we proudly proclaimed that we were from Canada. The doors opened wide.”

Dane is survived by his wife Laurel and extended family.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 22, 2022.

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