Leslie Carlson, an actor perhaps best known for his appearances in many films directed by David Cronenberg, died at age 81 on 3 May 2014.
Leslie Carlson was born on 24 February 1933 in Mitchell, South Dakota. He earned both a BFA and an MA from the University of South Dakota. It was in the Sixties that he moved to Canada. He made his television debut in 1972 in an episode of Norman Corwin Presents. His film debut came in 1973 in the movie The Neptune Factor. In the Seventies he appeared in such films as The Hard Part Begins (1973), McQ (1974), Deranged, Black Christmas (1974), Shoot (1976), I Wasn't Scared (1977), Raku Fire (1977), Love at First Sight (1977), Deadly Harvest (1977), Who Has Seen the Wind (1977), High-Ballin' (1978), and Mr. Patman (1980). He appeared on the TV shows King of Kensington, The New Avengers. He had a recurring role on the TV show Custard Pie.
In the Eighties he appeared in such films as Improper Channels (1981), Circle of Two (1981), Videodrome (1983), The Dead Zone (1983), A Christmas Story (1983), The Fly (1986), Street Smart (1987), and Rolling Vengeance (1987). He appeared on such shows as The Littlest Hobo, Night Heat, American Playhouse, War of the Worlds, The Twilight Zone, Murphy's Law, Friday the 13th, and 21 Jump Street. He had a recurring role on Avonlea as Mr. Lawson.
In the Nineties Mr. Carlson appeared in such films as Chaindance (1991), K2 (1991), Morning Glory (1993), Young Again (1995), The Wishing Tree (1999), Camera (2000), and Silver Man (2000). He appeared on such shows as Scales of Justice, Highlander, The X-Files, Side Effects and PSI Factor: Chronicles of the Paranormal. From the Naughts into the Teens Mr. Carlson appeared in the films Looking for Angelina (2005) and Your Beautiful Cul de Sac Home (2007). He appeared on such shows as Odyssey 5, Haven, Lost Girl, and Murdoch Mysteries.
Leslie Carlson was an incredibly versatile actor. Over his career he played everything from the sinister head of Spectacular Optical Corporation, Barry Convex, in Videodrome to the unassuming storekeeper Mr. Lawson on Avonlea to the canny Christmas Tree Salesman in A Christmas Story. Over the years he played everything from doctors to preachers to police officers to teachers, and he did all of them well. There can be little wonder why he was so prolific.