Roger Abbot was just 64. He died in Toronto. He had been fighting lymphocytic leukemia for 14 years.
He played in the Royal Canadian Air Farce comedy skit since its very beginning in 1973. I appended a video in which he plays a part mocking Harper's win in the 2008 election. The video would not append even though it is on You Tube so here is the link instead. Most people did not know that he suffered the progressive disease that eventually killed him.
Don Ferguson another well known Canadian comic and a good friend of Abbot said:"Roger was the guiding light of Royal Canadian Air Farce since it began in 1973, and all of us who have had the honour of working with him and the pleasure of knowing him will dearly miss his kindness, generosity, integrity, leadership and wonderful sense of humour,"
Abbott, Ferguson and Luba Goy were part of the original troupe that began the political satire on CBC Radio in 1973. They also were together for the final episode on television, on New Year's Eve at CBC studios in downtown Toronto and broadcast in 2008.
Abbot was born in Birkenhead, England, but moved to Canada in 1953, arriving in Montreal. He attended Loyola High School, where he met Ferguson, and in 1963 went on to study at Loyola College, now Concordia University.
Some of Abbott's most memorable impersonations on Air Farce have included former prime minister Jean Chrétien, CBC chief correspondent Peter Mansbridge, singerand the misogynist TV critic Gilbert Smythe Bite-Me.
Abbot once said:"Political satire is supposed to be politically incorrect - that's the point!" The appended video is a case in point. He also noted:"Even if a joke is politically incorrect, if a joke is really funny, the audience won't filter the laughs. They may feel guilty about it later, but they'll laugh."
Don Ferguson is quoted as saying that working together was like a marriage - "For better or worse, we're going to stick together," to which Abbott added: "And just like a marriage, there's no sex."
Abbott has received numerous awards for his work This includes 15 Actra awards, a Juno and the Governor General's Performing Arts Award and was honoured with a star on Canada's Walk of Fame. He will be missed.