Actor Victor Garber turns 70

Victor Garber was a member of The Sugar Shoppe, a Canadian sunshine pop vocal group who recorded in the late 1960s.

Victor Garber
NEW YORK, NY: Actor Victor Garber attends the 40th International Emmy Awards on November 19, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Robin Marchant/Getty Images)
Back in my early days of blogging, when I was very susceptible to memes, I adopted actor Victor Garber. He fit the mold as as “a character actor, as they are the unsung heroes of the entertainment world.”

In fact, it was almost exactly a decade ago I wrote that post, not realizing at the time how close it was to his 60th birthday. I’ll admit I haven’t been particularly good at “promoting the actor from time to time” since then. So what has he been up to in the past ten years?

Among other things, Victor Garber has been heavily involved in the DC universe on TV and in movies. I haven’t actually watched most of these, though I did see him in a 2017 episode of Supergirl.

Episodes of Glee, 30 Rock, Modern Family, and The Good Wife I’ve seen him in. He’s been Admiral Halsey – love that name – on The Orville, which I’ve caught a handful of times.

I know him mostly as Ken Taylor, the Canadian ambassador who helped six Americans escape during the Iranian hostage crisis in 1980, in the movie Argo (2012)

Supporters of Taylor, who saw the movie at the the Toronto International Film Festival, “were angered by what they saw as Affleck’s American-centric take on the crisis that minimized Taylor and Canada’s role. Affleck called Taylor and the two drafted a postscript that emphasized the Canadian Embassy’s crucial involvement.

“One year later, Taylor did press interviews and traveled the festival circuit to promote Our Man In Tehran, a Canadian documentary that sets the record straight about our embassy’s role.”

Still, I thought Garber’s portrayal, however inaccurate, was rather cool. It was rather like the role for which I best know him, agent Jacks Bristol, spy and estranged father to Sydney (Jennifer Garner).

And not much at all like his first movie role, as Jesus in the movie Godspell.
Godspell trailer
Save the People
Alas for You

Victor Garber’s Internet Broadway Database page, including Sweeney Todd (1979-1980), Damn Yankees (1994-1995), and Hello, Dolly as Horace Vandergelder (Jan 20 – Jul 15, 2018)

The Sugar Shoppe was a Canadian sunshine pop vocal group who recorded in the late 1960s. The Sugar Shoppe – Full album on Capitol Records (1968)

InnerVIEWS with Ernie Manouse: Victor Garber (2014)

Movie review: Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

That seems to be an effective representation of what ministry should be.

Just before my wife and I saw Won’t You Be My Neighbor? at the Spectrum Theatre in Albany, I read Ken Levine’s review.

It begins: “Full disclosure: I was not a fan of MR. ROGERS’ NEIGHBORHOOD when it aired. My kids watched it, but I found it oddly creepy.” Next paragraph: “I am now one of those people recommending WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR?”

That’s the point: you don’t have to be a fan of Fred Rogers’ long-running children’s program on PBS to appreciate the wonderful individual he was who did appeal to very many kids. Adults didn’t get him because he generally wasn’t talking to them.

Although he pretty much single-handedly secured funding for Public Broadcasting in 1970 through his direct plea to a Congressional committee chair.

The thing about his show was not designed to entertain the parents but to create that one-on-one relationship between the host and every child. It was because he understood child psychology and remembered some of the more painful aspects of his own childhood. Someone suggested that what Fred did was to take the formula of every other idea in children’s programming and do the opposite.

Fred was trained as a Presbyterian minister and was a lifelong Republican, back in the day when there were moderate Republicans such as Governor William Scranton in his native Pennsylvania. But he addressed big issues, such as race relations and violence, while not being preachy, just genuinely good and kind.

I really related to Mr. Rogers’ use of his puppets. I know that the use of inanimate objects can sometimes express ideas and feelings more easily than one can do directly.

The movie touched on some reportage that suggested that suggested that millennials are whiny because Fred Rogers told them they were special. I thought it was nonsense at the time, and the film only reinforced my view.

The Mr. Rogers message was/is that we ALL are special, worthy of being loved. In doing so, he taught them/us we need to be thoughtful and considerate to others. That seems to be an effective representation of what ministry should be.

My wife and I thought the same thing, separately: when African American performer Francois Clemons shared a wading pool with Fred Rogers for the second time in the film, it felt like the narrative of Jesus washing his disciples’ feet. I can’t explain why.

Whether or nor you liked MR. ROGERS NEIGHBORHOOD, or even heard of it, you should watch Won’t You Be My Neighbor, directed by Morgan Neville, who also also directed that great documentary about backup singers, 20 Feet from Stardom.