Adrienne Clarkson (1939-)

Adrienne Clarkson

Year Born: 1939

Clarkson, Adrienne (1939- )

Adrienne Clarkson, nee Poy, was born in Hong Kong and emigrated to Ottawa, Canada, with her family in 1942. She attended elementary and secondary school in Ottawa and enrolled at the University of Toronto. [Trinity College] There, she obtained an Honours B.A. and an M.A. in English Literature. Fluently bilingual, Ms. Clarkson also did post-graduate work at the Sorbonne in France in 1963.

Adrienne Clarkson’s broadcasting career started in 1965 when she co-hosted the half-hour public affairs program, Take 30, with Paul Soles. She continued hosting that show until 1975 and then joined the team on the CBC’s flagship investigative journalism program, the Fifth Estate. She worked on that show until 1982. In that year, she began her foreign affairs career as the Agent-General to France from 1982 to 1987.

Never far away from the literary world, Ms. Clarkson was made president and publisher of McClelland and Stewart which led her to publish books under her own name in association with that company. The year was 1987.

In 1988, Ms. Clarkson returned to television as the host of the CBC summer series, Adrienne Clarkson’s Summer Festival. The success of this program led to the creation of Adrienne Clarkson Presents, a weekly music/literary/dance program, that aired for 11 years.

In 1992, Ms. Clarkson wrote and directed her first feature-length film, called Artemisia. It was the story of a 17th-century Italian painter, Artemisia Gentileschi. The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in the same year.

Recipient of many awards, including four ACTRAs, a Gemini in 1993 and the Gordon Sinclair Award in 1979, Ms. Clarkson’s crowning achievement was in October of 1999 when she was appointed by Prime Minister Jean Chretien the 26th Governor General of Canada. She held this position until September 27th 2005. She subsequently founded the Institute of Canadian Citizenship, formed “to help new citizens participate in mainstream civic and social life”.

In June 2007, the RTNDA announced the creation of the Adrienne Clarkson Diversity Awards, “to recognize news stories that exemplified issues of diversity”.

Written by John Corcelli – May, 2002