Jesse on The Beachcombers was played by actor Pat John, who died at the age of 69.
CBC’s long-running drama’s lone appearance by John disregarded tired tropes and cliches
It is with great sadness that we learn of Pat John’s passing. John was most known for his role as the modest and trustworthy Jesse Jim in the long-running CBC drama The Beachcombers.
On Thursday, John’s friend and former co-star, Jackson Davies, told CBC News that he had died.
John died around noon on Wednesday, “appearing more calm than he has in a long time,” Davies wrote in a Facebook post announcing John’s passing. At this time, we don’t know what killed him or what caused him to pass away.
“In spite of the fact that he didn’t get the recognition for it, he was a very talented actor. He had the best laugh I’d ever heard, and it was my life’s mission to hear it.”
While attending high school in Sechelt, British Columbia, John was cast as a teenager on The Beachcombers.
A new model for Indigenous characters on cinema was established by Jesse in the following years, which moved away from outmoded prejudices and caricatures.
A number of people in the Yukon’s Carcross/Tagish First Nation, including TV producer Shirley McLean, grew up watching John. A pioneer for Indigenous performers and portrayal, he is described as such by her.
According to McLean, “seeing an Indigenous character on TV was a thing that we were pleased of, something that normalised us in mainstream society.
To date, there have been 19 seasons of The Beachcombers, making it the second longest-running show in Canadian television history.
After premiering in October of 1972 and running for more than 350 episodes, the show will be celebrating its 50th anniversary this fall.
If Beachcombers hadn’t happened, “I don’t think I would have ever dreamed of being an actor.” he claimed in a 2002 piece printed by the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix.
As the Persephone tugboat searched for wayward logs, we followed the coastal exploits of log salvager Nick Adonidas (Bruno Gerussi) and his beachcombing sidekick Jesse Jim.
As one of CBC’s highest-rated shows for 15 seasons, it was helped by the fact that its cast—including John, Davies and Gerussi—was adored by viewers both domestically and abroad.
One of the first shows to establish British Columbia as a destination for film production and talent, the show was produced and set in Gibsons, B.C.
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