I was saddened by the death of these two great Canadians, but for very different reasons. In the case of Macdonald, its the passing of that first generatiion of Canadian dance pioneers. As for Béliveau, he brings back memories of my late mother.
Macdonald’s contributions to dance and theatre in this country are enormous. He was a fine choreographer who never disappointed. In his works, dancers looked wonderful, whether on or off point. As for his Gilbert & Sullivan productions at the Stratford Festival, every one of them was absolutely memorable. Interviewing Macdonald was always a joy because he was such a cultured and erudite man that it was always fun to go off on conersational tangents with him.
As for Béliveau, my late mother thought that he was the most handsome man in the world. My father had control of the TV on Saturday night for the hockey games, so it was either watch that or read a book. The big problem happened when the Habs played the Leafs. My mother would anchor herself in front of the TV, whooping and hollering when her beloved Jean scored a goal. (Note: she didn’t watch any of the other games.) In a houseful of rabid Leaf fans, my mother rooting for the enemy was not easy to take. It was an act of war. I have to admit in retrospect that Béliveau was a great sportsman, and he was certainly handsome. His only problem was that he played for the wrong side.