Thursday November 19, 2009
CLAIRE DRAINIE TAYLOR (1917-2009) Passed away peacefully at home in her 93rd year. Claire Wodlinger Murray Drainie Taylor, a talented actress, a wonderful daughter, sister, wife, mother and grandmother, and an extraordinary human being. Claire began life in Swift Current, Saskatchewan, the daughter of Hyman Wodlinger and Rose (Epstein) Wodlinger, and sister of Jim, David, Dorothy and Fredi. When only 16, in the depths of the Depression, she married Jack Murray and moved with him to the interior of Vancouver Island where he worked in logging and she learned to hunt grouse and to skin and cook deer. After a divorce at age 21, she met John Drainie, a promising young Vancouver actor, and they became a key part of the talented troupe of actors, writers, directors and musicians who brought about the Golden Age of Radio on the CBC. They married and moved to Toronto in 1942, where they proceeded to have six children: Bronwyn, Kathryn, Michael, Jocelyn, Philip and David. Claire acted in numerous plays and series at CBC Toronto, including 'Jake and the Kid' (Ma), 'John and Judy' (Aunt Mary), and 'Barney Boomer' (Ma Parkin). She also wrote radio dramas, including 'Santa Had a Black, Black Beard' and 'Flow Gently Sweet Limbo'. In 1960, Claire and John took the whole family to live in Europe for the next four years, mainly in Spain but also in Switzerland and England. Shortly after John Drainie died of lung cancer in 1966, Claire met Nathan A. (Nat) Taylor, an innovative film exhibitor later the founder of Cineplex whom she married in 1968 and lived with happily until Nat's death in 2004. In 1998, Claire's autobiography was published by Wilfried Laurier University Press under the title The Surprise of My Life. She will be tenderly remembered by her six children and their spouses and by her grandchildren Gabriel, Sam, Angela, Michael, Lauryn, Alison and Alexandria. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the charity of your choice. There will be no funeral, as Claire has donated her body to the Department of Anatomy at the University of Toronto. A memorial party will be held in her honour at a later date. Details will be posted on this page of The Globe and Mail.