Eric McCormack (left) as Orleans and Geraint Wyn Davies as Henry V in Henry V in a 1989 Stratford Festival handout photo. Will and Grace star McCormack is this year’s recipient of the Stratford Festival Legacy Award. (File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Will and Grace star Eric McCormack to receive Stratford Legacy Award

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Will and Grace star Eric McCormack to receive Stratford Legacy Award

STRATFORD, Ont. — Will and Grace star Eric McCormack is this year’s recipient of the Stratford Festival Legacy Award.

The Toronto-born actor was a member of the festival’s acting company from 1985 to 1989, when he appeared in 17 productions, including Measure for Measure, Much Ado About Nothing, All’s Well That Ends Well, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Henry V.

McCormack launched his acting career in Canadian theatre, performing at Stratford and across Canada, including stints with the Vancouver’s Arts Club Theatre, the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, Theatre New Brunswick, the Citadel Theatre and Canadian Stage. His stage success extended south of the border, where he starred in the title role of The Music Man in 2001 on Broadway, and opposite stage and screen legends James Earl Jones and Angela Lansbury in the Tony-nominated The Best Man.

McCormack catapulted to international fame with his Emmy-winning turn as lawyer Will Truman on Will and Grace, and is in the midst of filming the reboot of the American sitcom. He is also a producer, director and star on the sci-fi series Travelers.

McCormack will be honoured during a gala at the Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto on Sept. 18.

Previous Stratford Legacy Award recipients include Gordon Pinsent, Christopher Plummer and William Shatner.

“When I first came to the States over two decades ago and told people I’d spent five years at the Stratford Festival, the response was often, ‘In England?’” McCormack said in a statement issued Wednesday.

“That never happens anymore. Now, bragging (as I do) about my time at Stratford is always met with, ‘In Canada? That place is amazing! You worked there?’ The Stratford Festival was an important Canadian institution from its inception. But it has become an international one, a shining example of how incredible classical theatre can be, and how much Canada has to offer the world artistically.”

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