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Toronto-born actor Walter Massey dies at 85

Toronto-born actor Walter Massey, a veteran of the stage and screen and staunch supporter of performers' rights, has died.

The Montreal branch of Canada's performers' union says Massey died Monday at a hospital in the city. He was 85.

Massey performed at major theatres throughout Canada and starred in TV series including Lassie, in which he played Doc Stewart.

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He also helped establish the Canadian Actors' Equity Association and the Montreal arm of the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA).

Born Walter Edward Hart Massey II, he had a prominent lineage: His father was politician Denton Massey and his cousins included former governor general Vincent Massey and acclaimed actor Raymond Massey.

Massey began acting after studying mechanical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

He performed at esteemed venues including the New York Shakespeare Festival, the Stratford Festival in Southwestern Ontario, Ottawa's National Arts Centre and the Manitoba Theatre Centre.

At Montreal's Mountain Playhouse, he served as resident director, and he co-founded the Kings Theatre in Prince Edward Island and the Piggery Theatre in Quebec.

His other TV roles included Tom Temple in Family Court and the voice of Principal Haney in TV's Arthur.

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