Print this Post

They called him the King – Al Waxman, Canada’s other King

June 2024

They called him the King; the King of Kenzington.

Also known as Albert “Al” Waxman, the versatile Canadian actor and director had a long and distinguished career that included radio, stage, films and television.

Albert Samuel Waxman, was born on 2 March 1935 in Toronto, the son of Jewish Polish immigrants. Waxman’s career began at the age of twelve on CBC Radio.

Some of his acting credits include playing a drug dealer in Atlantic City, starring Burt Lancaster, Willy Loman on stage in Death of a Salesman at the Stratford Festival and as Lieutenant Bert Samuels on the hit CBS TV show Cagney & Lacey.

However, it was his role as role of Larry King, a convenience store owner in Toronto’s Kenzington Market, on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s show King of Kenzington, that made him a Canadian icon.

King of Kenzington was a show that had a gentle but politically conscious humour that some considered the Canadian version of the topical 1970s sitcoms produced by Norman Lear, such as All in the Family and Maude. A tight production schedule that sometimes saw episodes airing just one week or less after they were filmed, allowed the producers to include topical jokes about current news stories into the episodes. The show ran on the CBC from 1975-1980.

In addition to his day job, Waxman was also associated with many community and charitable organizations, such as the United Jewish Appeal, Variety Club, Big Brothers, the Canadian Cancer Society and the Children’s Miracle Network. Along with his wife, Sara, he created the Sara and Al Waxman Center for Maternal and Fetal Medicine in Jerusalem.

Amongst his many awards, Waxman was inducted into the Order of Ontario in 1996 and the Order of Canada in 1997, for his volunteer and philanthropic work. These and others were on top of his awards for acting.

His memoir, That’s What I Am, was published in 1999.

Waxman died while having heart surgery in Toronto on 18 January 2001, at the relatively young age (these days) of 65. He was buried at Pardes Shalom Cemetery in Maple, Ontario.

In 2016, Al Waxman was posthumously inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame in 2016 in the category of a Cineplex Legends Inductee for his enormous contribution to Canadian arts and culture as an actor, director, producer, and his support for the Canadian film industry.

Not long after his death, sculptor Ruth Abernethy created a life-size sculpture of Al Waxman, which was placed in xxx Park in Kensington Market, the same location where King of Kenzington was situated and filmed.

The inscription in front of the statue reads “There’s lots to do down the road, there’s always more. Trust your gut instincts. In small matters trust your mind, but in the important decisions of life – trust your heart.”

Sources: Al Waxman – Wikipedia, King of Kensington – Wikipedia, Ruth Abernethy – Wikipedia.

About the author

Bruce Forsyth

Bruce Forsyth served in the Royal Canadian Navy Reserve for 13 years (1987-2000). He served with units in Toronto, Hamilton & Windsor and worked or trained at CFB Esquimalt, CFB Halifax, CFB Petawawa, CFB Kingston, CFB Toronto, Camp Borden, The Burwash Training Area and LFCA Training Centre Meaford.

Permanent link to this article: https://militarybruce.com/they-called-him-the-king-al-waxman-canadas-other-king/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>