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Marion Dorothy Walker (1919 - 1998) was a production assistant at Hart House Theatre and a professor in the Department of Fine Arts, University of Toronto.
Ms. Walker was born in Toronto, September 23, 1919. Her father, George Walker, was the head of Woolworth’s Canada. Ms. Walker attended Bishop Strachan School. During her early years, she was a figure skater and talented golfer. She won the Ontario Junior Girl’s Golf Tournament in 1939 and 1940.
Ms. Walker’s main interests, however, were in the arts. She received her B.A. in English and Fine Arts in 1942 from the University of Toronto. When Hart House Theatre opened after the war in 1946, Ms. Walker became its Production Assistant. In this capacity, she designed and painted sets, made props and created costumes. From her Hart House Theatre work, she earned a reputation for her stage flair, sensitivity to colour and line, and daring use of unusual materials.
Ms. Walker eventually left the Theatre in 1957 to become a librarian and reader in the University of Toronto’s Department of Fine Arts. She also began graduate studies in art history. Upon completing her M.A. in 1963, Ms. Walker was appointed Special Lecturer in the Department of Fine Arts. Later, in 1977, she became Assistant Professor in the Department. She remained in this position until her retirement in 1985. She also served as Special Lecturer in the Department of Fine Arts’ Graduate Centre for Study of Drama, between 1966 and 1976. Ms. Walker’s teaching and research interests were the history of costume and stage design. As a result, she spent many summers in Europe, especially Italy, investigating the works of early theatre designers, Filippo Juvarra, Ferdinando Bibiena, Fratelli Gallieri and Pietro Gonzaga.
Marion Walker passed away from cancer on June 7, 1998. In commemorating her life, Ms. Walker’s friend and colleague, Phyllis Grosskurth, wrote in the Globe and Mail, “She was respected by her peers, loved by her students, adored by her friends. No one will ever fill the particular emptiness she left in our lives, but those her knew her have been enriched beyond measure.”