John Dunsworth, the actor best known for playing Jim Lahey, the curmudgeonly cop turned alcoholic park supervisor on the hit comedy Trailer Park Boys, passed away today at the age of 71.
“With heavy and broken hearts the family of John F. Dunsworth would like to let people know that our amazing husband, father and grandfather John Dunsworth has passed away,” said the official statement made by Dunsworth’s daughter Sarah. Sarah worked alongside her father on the set of Trailer Park Boys for over a decade and a half.
Dunsworth is described as having passed away peacefully after “a short and unexpected illness,” according the statement, which goes on to request that the privacy of the family is respected during their time of grieving.
Originally from Bridgewater, Nova Scotia, Dunsworth was an active member in the Nova Scotia theatre and acting community. He’s performed in numerous CBC radio dramas and has had starring roles in many stage productions at Halifax’s Neptune Theatre. He was also known for his portrayal of Dave Teagues in Haven, the television series adaption of the Stephen King novel The Colorado Kid.
Dunsworth met Mike Clattenburg, the director responsible for Trailer Park Boys, in the mid 1990s when he tried out for a bit part in Clattenburg’s One Last Shot, a short black and white mockumentary-style film that served as the first appearance of the characters Ricky and Julian.
From that small role, Dunsworth’s performance developed into what would become Jim Lahey in Trailer Park Boys, one of the most iconic characters in Canadian television—and would win Dunsworth the Best Performance award from the Atlantic Film Festival.
In response to the passing of Dunsworth, the Trailer Park Boys twitter account tweeted, “We’re in shock and heartbroken by the sudden loss of our dear friend John Dunsworth. We respect the family’s wishes for privacy at this time.”