November 1950 – October 22, 2010
On August 14, 2010, we first had the pleasure of speaking with Denis to set-up his profile on our site. By the time it was posted a mere six days later, it was if we had known him forever. His energy was infectious, and his charisma endearing. He was humble, honoured and so gracious. In a world of egos, his humility was a breath of fresh air. We are saddened by his passing; he became a friend and will be missed. In honour of Denis, we are reposting his profile today. Our deepest condolences go out to his family and friends. – Mhairy & Ricardo
Actor / Singer / Writer / Director / MC / Teacher, Vancouver, BC. Born: Jamaica.
Denis Simpson is a multi-talented, award-winning, actor, singer, writer, songwriter, director, MC and teacher, with a career spanning almost 40 years.
On television, Denis hosted Channel M’s Cafe M, was the “Live Eye Guy” on CITY TV’s Breakfast Television, and hosted TV Ontario’s Polka Dot Door. He directed the recent hit Fringe show, NGGRFG, which is touring schools, was a member of the BC Entertainment Hall Of Fame, and was a founding member of the a capella group, The Nylons. Denis finished his last play, STRUCK! which is being dramaturged, and is trying to write a solo piece based on the life and works of James Baldwin. He donated his time, talent and energies to local charities.
Professional accomplishments: Dames At Sea, Five Guys Named Moe, Ain’t Misbehavin’, Denis Anyone? (which earned him a Jessie Award), Little Shop of Horrors, and many more at The Arts Club Theatre in Vancouver.
Favourite roles: Include “Horse” in The Full Monty; “Muzzy” in Thoroughly Modern Millie; “Chris” in Blue Orange; “Belize” in Angels In America; “Hoke” in Driving Miss Daisy; “Reverend Sykes” in To Kill a Mockingbird; “Andre” in Ain’t Misbehaving (awarded the Dora Mavor Moore Award for the role); “Jesus” in Godspell; “Simon Zealotes” in The Last Days Of Judas Iscariot; “Simon” in Jesus Christ Superstar and “Texaco” in Dude, on Broadway; and the MC in Buddy (MC), to name a few.
Favourite book? A Fine Balance by Rohan Mistry. The storytelling was awsewome – sensorially and emotionally, I was there. I didn’t want it to end.
Favourite quotes? “God never gives you more than you can handle.” & “NAMASTE. (I honour the place in you where lives your light, your love, your truth. I honour the place in you, where if you are in that place in you, and I am in that place with me, then we are ONE.)”
Given the chance, what would you love to do that you have not done yet? Finish (or expand upon) my university education.
Who inspires you? My sister Gloria Reuben, my dear ‘departed’ friend, Hugh Pickett, and countless others who are still doing what they are here on the planet to do, shamelessly and actively.
Why do you do what you do? I knew from an early age that I wanted to ‘perform/act’, as opposed to ‘act out’. Upon hearing my mother sing in church at the age of three, I think that’s when the ‘bug’ bit me. I also remember seeing and hearing the preacher, and wanted to be a preacher (with my congregation as the audience). It really isn’t about ‘us’, is it? We are vessels/conduits. If we just get out of our own way and ego, and let it be…let it flow.