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Gordon Pinsent, Voice Of Babar The Elephant, Dies At 92

"Babar the Elephant" voice actor and Canadian screen icon Gordon Pinsent has died. He was 92. The actor's death was confirmed via a statement released by his son-in-law, Peter Keleghan. "Gordon Pinsent's daughters Leah and Beverly, and his son Barry, would like to announce the passing of their father peacefully in sleep today with his family at his side," the statement, obtained by the CBC, read.

Pinsent is best remembered for voicing the titular character in the animated children's series "Babar the Elephant." Based on the French book series of the same name, the late 80s Canadian cartoon became a huge international hit, especially in the United States where it aired on HBO. The Pinsent-voiced series followed King Babar, a royal elephant who rules over Celesteville. The success of the original "Babar the Elephant" series resulted in the release of two feature films and a Disney-led spinoff series focused on the royal King's grandson Badou. Pinsent last voiced the iconic character in 2013 in the Disney Junior spinoff series.

Playing the character on and off for four decades was certainly fascinating for Pinsent, who told the Hamilton Spectator how animation had changed between the late 80s and 2010s. "The screen was quite different in those days, it was almost sketch-like, you know, in the way the characters were etched onto the scene," the voice actor told the outlet in 2010. "But now it's (computer) animated and I'm astounded, I've got to tell you."

The Babar voice actor was a Canadian screen legend

Born in Grand Falls, Newfoundland, Gordon Pinsent began acting in his teens, before joining the Canadian army, per a biography posted by The Canadian Communication Foundation. While Gordon Pinsent is best remembered to the world as the voice of one of television's most beloved animated characters, the actor was a superstar in his native Canada. The winner of several Gemini and Canadian Screen Awards, Pinsent's most memorable live-action performance came late in his career. At the age of 76, the actor joined Sarah Polley's directorial debut "Away from Her."

The Canadian film about a husband (Pinsent) reeling with his wife's (Julie Christie) Alzheimer's diagnosis was an awards darling, both in its native country and stateside, where it nabbed two Oscar nods. Audiences may also remember Pinsent as supporting player in Julianne Moore's "The Shipping News." He also made an appearance in the trailblazing Blaxploitation horror film "Blackula."

Following the announcement of Pinsent's passing, Polley took to Twitter to pay tribute to the late actor. "Gordon had an enormous capacity for joy in absolutely everything he did," the Oscar-nominated filmmaker shared, describing Pinsent's energy as both infectious and educational. "There wasn't a moment without a twinkle of mischief and a determination to enjoy the moment." Canadian comedian Rick Mercer also honored the late Canadian actor, calling him "the epitome of class & one hell of a funny guy," in an emotional tweet.