Toller Cranston
Figure skater
Toller Cranston
Toller Shalitoe Montague Cranston, CM is a Canadian figure skater and painter. He is the 1971-1976 Canadian national champion, the 1974 World bronze medalist, and the 1976 Olympic bronze medalist. Although, because of poor compulsory figures, he never won a world level competition, he won the small medal for free skating at the 1972, 1974, and 1975 World Figure Skating Championships.
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Bang for your classical buck - Edmonton Journal
Google News - over 5 years
Re: "Noteworthy dates on the classical calendar; Local concert choices include an evening with former figure skater Toller Cranston and the ESO," The Journal, Sept. 15
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Noteworthy dates on the classical calendar - Edmonton Journal
Google News - over 5 years
Some are still working out details for their 2011-12 lineups, but here are a few that have been announced: Grammy Award-winning singer Michael W. Smith, former figure skating champ Toller Cranston and the best of Walt Disney soundtrack music are among
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Class of 2011 commencement speeches - Toronto Star
Google News - over 5 years
Figure skating icon and artist Toller Cranston spoke at Carleton University Convocation ceremony, June 8, 2011. Former federal cabinet minister and academic Monique Bégin spoke at Carleton University Convocation ceremony, June 7, 2011
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Caroline Phillips: Symphony wins as Irish host fundraiser fête - Ottawa Citizen
Google News - over 5 years
Around Town caught up with Canadian painter and skating legend Toller Cranston at Friday's opening reception for his new art exhibition at Terence Robert Gallery on Sussex Drive, just a couple of days after he received an honorary degree from Carleton
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ICE SKATING REVIEW; Gliding With Ease, Romance And Sorrow
NYTimes - over 15 years
The Ice Theater of New York emphasized the varied forms choreography for skaters can take in a fast-paced evening on Wednesday night in the Sky Rink at the Chelsea Piers. The program featured four fine guest skaters. Lucinda Ruh whizzed her way through dizzying turns in Kurt Browning's ''Think!'' and let one phrase flow seamlessly into the next in
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FIGURE SKATING;For Kwan, Maturity Invites Success
NYTimes - almost 21 years
When Michelle Kwan of Los Angeles finished fourth at the 1995 world championships, her coach, Frank Carroll, decided the judges had sent a message to the 14-year-old figure skater: We want a woman as champion, not a girl. As a 15-year-old, Kwan has changed her look, wearing makeup and more sophisticated costumes and putting her hair in a bun
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FIGURE SKATING; Chinese Skater Glides to World Title as Bobek Falls to the Bronze
NYTimes - almost 22 years
There was more crying than kissing today in that well-lighted shark tank where figure skaters sit and wait for the judges' verdict. The tears fell for a range of good reasons. For Nicole Bobek, the reason was disappointment. For Chen Lu, it was unbridled joy. For Michelle Kwan, the tears fell simply because her psyche needed some form of release in
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BENEFITS
NYTimes - almost 23 years
Spielberg Honored TONIGHT -- The director Steven Spielberg will receive a medal of honor for his contributions "to the arts, Jewish memory and continuity" from Beth Hatesfutsoth, the Nathum Goldmann Museum of the Jewish Diaspora in Tel Aviv. The black-tie dinner will start with cocktails at 6 P.M. at the Plaza. Tickets, $1,000, from (212) 339-6022.
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John Curry, Figure Skater, Is Dead at 44
NYTimes - almost 23 years
John Curry, the elegant 1976 Olympic champion who infused figure skating with the possibilities of dance, died yesterday of an AIDS-related heart attack, his agent said. Mr. Curry was 44. The British skater died at his home near Stratford upon Avon, England, said the agent, Jean Diamond. As a skater, Mr. Curry was a visionary, redefining his sport
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Sports of The Times; In the New America, Pirouettes Win Out
NYTimes - about 23 years
ONE of the most optimistic facts I have heard about my country of birth in recent months is that more people would rather watch Tonya Harding land a triple axel than watch Bobby Knight kick his son. The encouraging sign of the maturation of America was found in the television ratings of last autumn, when more people watched an 8-month-old tape of
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FIGURE SKATING; As Usual, Bowman Glides Through Chaos
NYTimes - almost 24 years
Christopher Bowman, puffing on a cigar, was very hungry. But the hotel restaurant had no seating left in the smoking section. His friend, Pamela Cunningham, trembled near tears over a diamond ring that he had given her and that she couldn't seem to find. An hour earlier, both of them had been dressed in gaudy frontier outfits, skating to Wild West
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Report Cites 40 AIDS Deaths
NYTimes - about 24 years
At least 40 male skaters and coaches in the top ranks of North American figure skating have died in recent years of AIDS-related diseases, The Calgary Herald says. And at least a dozen others in Canada and the United States are infected with H.I.V. -- the virus that causes AIDS -- or currently have AIDS, the newspaper reported today. The newspaper
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FIGURE SKATING; AIDS Deaths Tear at Figure-Skating World
NYTimes - over 24 years
In the last 12 months, three world- class Canadian figure skaters have died of AIDS. Another Canadian skater, Dennis Coi, a former junior world champion, died in 1987 of the same disease. John Curry of Britain, a former Olympic champion also suffering from AIDS, returned last month to his home in England to spend the remainder of his life. The
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One Day to Albertville; Killy Is Big Star of Downsized Rehearsal
NYTimes - about 25 years
In the inky blackness of the Alpine night, 15,000 of Jean-Claude Killy's friends roared their appreciation tonight for their Olympics. Oh, sure, it hasn't actually started yet. But that was just a formality. Killy, the man from nearby Val d'Isere, is the hero hereabouts. He won the three men's Alpine gold medals in the 1968 Olympics at Grenoble,
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FIGURE SKATING; Bowman Takes Center Stage Off the Ice
NYTimes - about 25 years
The United States Figure Skating Association grew so disturbed over recent reports about Christopher Bowman's personal life that senior association officials confronted Bowman last month in an attempt to separate fact from fiction, then today issued a statement of support. In a sport routinely drenched with gossip and innuendo, these are highly
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FIGURE SKATING; Where Bowman Goes, Intrigue Follows
NYTimes - about 25 years
When Jill Trenary announced last month that she was withdrawing from the national figure skating championships, she virtually cleared a path to the medal podium and the 1992 Albertville Olympics for Kristi Yamaguchi, Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan, the medalists at last year's national and world championships. But as this year's nationals opened
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OLYMPICS; A Productive Weekend for Americans
NYTimes - about 25 years
With the start of the Albertville Olympics just two months away, athletes from the United States enjoyed one of their most encouraging weekends this past Saturday and Sunday, winning medals in five different World Cup events. Foremost among them was A. J. Kitt, whose victory in the men's downhill in Val- d'Isere, France -- the Olympic downhill
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OLYMPICS; Virgin Islander Has Shot at 5 Olympics
NYTimes - over 25 years
With health and even a hint of ability, Seba Johnson of the United States Virgin Islands has a chance to do something not even Sonja Henie, the legendary figure skater of Norway, could achieve. The youngest skier in the 1988 Calgary Olympics, at 14 years of age, Johnson is well positioned to compete in five Winter Olympics, one more than Henie and
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Figure Skating; Eldredge Overtakes Bowman for Title
NYTimes - about 26 years
A year of skating in the shadows of skepticism ended for Todd Eldredge today as he won the men's singles title at the national figure skating championships for the second consecutive year. This time, unlike last year, Christopher Bowman stayed healthy, competed through the end and finished second. With music from "Les Miserables" providing a
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Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Toller Cranston
    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 2015
    Age 65
    Cranston was found dead at his residence from an apparent heart attack on the morning of January 24, 2015, aged 65.
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  • 2013
    Age 63
    In 2013, he was appointed as the Official Artist of Skate Canada and produced the signature poster for the 2013 ISU World Figure Skating Championships in London, Ontario.
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  • 2010
    Age 60
    In 2010, Cranston came back to skating for a short time as a guest judge for Battle of the Blades, a figure skating reality competition show on CBC Television.
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  • FORTIES
  • 1997
    Age 47
    Although he made a few skating appearances afterwards, in 1997 he decided to retire from professional skating before (as he described it) he became a parody of himself.
    More Details Hide Details For retirement, Cranston took residence in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where Cranston's main artistic outlet was painting. Cranston's work often incorporated themes related to skating.
  • 1994
    Age 44
    Cranston continued to perform in Canada with Stars on Ice and IMG's smaller-city tour, Skate the Nation, for the next few years. However, in the fall of 1994, he broke his leg while practicing for a holiday show in Vail, Colorado.
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  • 1991
    Age 41
    Having lost the ability to tolerate Bowman's behavior any longer Cranston finally threw him out in the fall of 1991.
    More Details Hide Details Meanwhile, Cranston had become so depressed that he was unable to paint, and started taking drugs as well. At this time, he began to make changes in his lifestyle: He sold his Toronto house, which was cluttered with art he had collected over the years, and bought a house in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.
  • 1990
    Age 40
    In the summer of 1990, Cranston agreed to coach American skater Christopher Bowman, who moved into Cranston's home in Toronto.
    More Details Hide Details The influence of the notoriously unstable Bowman on Cranston's life was disastrous; Cranston later wrote, " drug dealers buzzed the front doorbell morning, noon, and night. Prostitutes invaded my house from the street. Christopher sometimes announced that he was going out for a carton of milk and didn't return for three days."
  • THIRTIES
  • 1986
    Age 36
    In 1986, he was one of the cast members of the original IMG-produced American Stars on Ice tour (no relation to the earlier Canadian TV series of the same name), and appeared with the show for the next several years.
    More Details Hide Details Cranston was also a commentator on CBC television for figure skating events. However, in 1991, the CBC fired him, citing concerns from the Canadian Figure Skating Association that his often brutally frank and opinionated commentary was denigrating to Canadian skaters. Cranston filed a lawsuit against the CBC that was eventually resolved in his favour.
  • 1983
    Age 33
    He made a non-skating acting appearance in the 1983 short film "I Am a Hotel", a music video featuring songs by Leonard Cohen.
    More Details Hide Details He is also on the back cover of Joni Mitchell's album "Hejira". Throughout the 1980s, he was a regular competitor at the World Professional Figure Skating Championships and other made-for-TV pro skating events.
    In 1983 he portrayed the character of Tybalt in "Romeo and Juliet on Ice", a production starring Brian Pockar and Dorothy Hamill as the title characters.
    More Details Hide Details He appeared in Joni Mitchell's concert film "Shadows and Light".
  • 1980
    Age 30
    During this period Cranston was a regular on the Canadian variety TV show Stars on Ice, and appeared in the similar NBC series The Big Show in 1980.
    More Details Hide Details His other television credits included a cameo appearance in an ice ballet production of "The Snow Queen" (1982), starring John Curry and Janet Lynn.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1977
    Age 27
    He was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1977 and received a Special Olympic Order from the Canadian Olympic Association in 1995.
    More Details Hide Details He was inducted into the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 2004.
  • 1976
    Age 26
    After the 1976 competitive season, Cranston began a long career in professional figure skating.
    More Details Hide Details Following up on his earlier-stated goal of developing "theatre on ice", Cranston performed and starred in the Broadway show, "The Ice Show", conceived and directed by Myrl A. Schreibman, produced and presented by Dennis Bass and performed at Broadways THE PALACE THEATER. The show ran for six weeks and was extended for another four weeks. It then was a special on ABC WIDE WORLD OF SPORTS performed in the arena in Montreal Canada. He later toured in Europe with Holiday on Ice, and in 1983 appeared in a short-lived production at Radio City Music Hall in New York City with Peggy Fleming and Robin Cousins. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Cranston made a series of skating specials for CBC television. The best of these was "Strawberry Ice" (1982), a fantasy that also featured Peggy Fleming, Sandra and Val Bezic, Allen Schramm, and Sarah Kawahara, with imaginative costumes designed by Frances Dafoe. The production won a variety of awards, including an ACTRA Award and was redistributed in 67 countries. Cranston's other TV specials included "Dream Weaver" (1979) and "Magic Planet" (1983).
    Toller Cranston also was the 1976 Olympic bronze medalist, again winning the free-skate medal.
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  • 1974
    Age 24
    He won that same medal again at the 1974 World Figure Skating Championships in addition to winning the overall bronze medal.
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  • 1972
    Age 22
    At the 1972 World Figure Skating Championships, he won the free skating medal with another superb performance, again landing triple loop and Salchow jumps and receiving a thunderous standing ovation as well as a perfect 6. mark for artistic impression.
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    Cranston skated poor compulsory figures at the 1972 Winter Olympics, but turned in a strong program to finish 5th in the free skating.
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    At the 1972 Canadian championships, his marks included four 6.0s for artistic impression and six 5.9s for technical merit.
    More Details Hide Details At this time the Artistic Impression mark was supposed to be graded on the quality of the jumps, landings and spins and the choreography to the music.
    It was in the 1972 season that he truly established his reputation in the sport.
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    Despite never winning at the World Figure Skating Championships due to his poor compulsory figures, he won the small medal for free skating at the 1972 and 1974 championships.
    More Details Hide Details Cranston is credited by many with having brought a new level of artistry to men's figure skating.
  • 1971
    Age 21
    Cranston won his first national title in 1971 with a performance that included triple Salchow and loop jumps, and received a standing ovation from the audience.
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    He won the 1971–1976 Canadian national championships, the 1974 World bronze medal and the 1976 Olympic bronze medal.
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  • TEENAGE
  • 1969
    Age 19
    Burka required him to do complete run-throughs of his entire program and his results began to improve: third at the Canadian championships in 1969, and second in 1970.
    More Details Hide Details Cranston was a clockwise spinner and jumper. He quickly gained a reputation as the most innovative and exciting artistic skater of his time, one of the first to emphasize use of the whole body to express the music as well as to execute skating moves in best form, to lie down while sliding down the ice and to wear elaborate costumes. He was particularly known for the quality and inventiveness of his spins, which were widely copied by other skaters. The quality of his precision landings and inventive choreography was topped by his combination jumps that included triple revolution jumps. Soon reports from competitions of this period began to mention younger skaters who had become "Tollerized" by attempting to copy Cranston's style, which was characterized by contrasting very stretched positions with a high free leg with more angular, bent-leg positions, and the incorporation of elements such as running toe steps and high kicks in step sequences. Many of his original spins included many changes of positions that seemed to defy gravity. His Russian split jump was "over split" which brought his skates up to shoulder height instead of waist height.
  • 1968
    Age 18
    After failing to make the Canadian team for the 1968 Winter Olympics, Cranston struggled with motivation and lack of training discipline.
    More Details Hide Details His career turned a corner in the following season when he began to work with coach Ellen Burka in Toronto.
  • 1964
    Age 14
    After eight weeks in a cast, he resumed training, and won the 1964 Canadian Junior Championship the next month.
    More Details Hide Details In the next few years, however, Cranston met with little success at the senior level. As he was dividing his attention with art school at this time, his physical conditioning was poor and he struggled to make it through his programs, which at that time were 5 minutes for senior men.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1949
    Born
    Cranston was born in Hamilton, Ontario, in 1949 and grew up in Kirkland Lake.
    More Details Hide Details When he was 11, his family moved to suburban Montreal. Growing up, Cranston had an uneasy relationship with his family, especially his mother, who was a painter and who he says had a domineering and self-centred personality. He later compared his childhood to "being in jail". In school he had the habit of asking provocative questions that made his teachers think he was being disruptive. Although he enjoyed history, he disliked more structured subjects like mathematics. After high school, Cranston attended the École des beaux-arts de Montréal. By his third year, he became restless with his studies. One of his teachers suggested that there was nothing more he could learn at the school, so Cranston set out at that point to establish himself as a professional artist. In 1976, he teamed up with personal manager Elva Oglanby to write his first book, Toller, a mixture of autobiography, sketches, poems, paintings, humour and tongue-in-cheek observations. It reached number two in the Canadian non-fiction charts. Cranston co-wrote the autobiographical Zero (1997) with Martha Lowder Kimball, and a second volume, When Hell Freezes Over: Should I Bring My Skates? (2000), also with Kimball. While he described a sexual tryst between himself and Ondrej Nepela in the second book as well as affairs with women, in his books he presents himself as having lived without forming strong romantic or emotional attachments.
Original Authors of this text are noted here.
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