The Big Huge Guy

August 17, 2010

Hm. It’s been awhile. I mostly use this blog to keep track of the articles I’ve published and to expound on the various thoughts that flit through my brain about my various professions (this summer, you can add radio producer to that list) and sometimes to share very important otter news.

What I don’t tend to use this blog for is personal life venting. But sometimes big things happen and who cares about personal vs. professional and I’ve been trying to find the words to write about Wayne for two months, which is why I haven’t had any words for anything else.

At the end of May, the Canadian theatre and film community lost a fantastically talented actor and advocate and I lost a dear family friend. You can read all about Wayne Nicklas’ career in this memorial in the Winnipeg Free Press by my pal Randy King. Wayne’s passing is a huge loss to the community, but it’s also a huge personal loss to anyone lucky enough to have known him. He was only 59.

Wayne and his wife Judy (the adorable redhead on the right) are family to me. As you can see, we go way back (yeah, that’s me in the overalls being held by my mom). In our house he was known as the Big Huge Guy. You can’t tell from this photo, but Wayne stood at least six and a half feet tall. But the nickname would be apt even if Wayne had been a little person, due to his Big Huge heart, his Big Huge personality, and his Big Huge sense of humour.

When my parents moved to Toronto from Winnipeg in the 70s, they became an unofficial guest house for all their friends and acquaintances who passed through town from the Prairies. So growing up, we saw Wayne and Judy more often than most of our blood relatives, because they usually came to Toronto a couple of times a year. (Which was fine by me, because Wayne and Judy were more fun, frankly. Also, they were COOL AND GLAMOUROUS because they were ACTORS!) I always got a kick out of seeing Wayne show up in a movie (among many other roles, but these are the most memorable to me, he’s Fairuza Balk’s cop dad in The Outside Chance of Maximilian Glick, and one of the board members in The Saddest Music in the World – the only movie star he ever got excited about meeting was Isabella Rosellini).

Wayne and Judy picked me up from the airport (and once, memorably, the train station) whenever I visited Winnipeg. They would buy me lunch and we’d talk about life and exchange Seinfeld quotes. Wayne especially liked bringing up Kramer’s unseen friend Bob Sacamento, for some reason – I think he probably just liked the way the name sounded. Wayne had a way of making you feel like the funniest, most clever person in the world: if you cracked a joke he liked, he’d repeat the last line out loud appreciatively and laugh his Big Huge laugh. He was warm, kind, and full of great stories. Even in the middle of summer, Winnipeg will be a much colder place for his not being there.

I miss the Big Huge Guy. Hugely.

One Response to “The Big Huge Guy”

  1. seenonflickr Says:

    Oh, I am sorry for your loss.

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