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Greene presented with Canada's Walk of Fame plaque

A veteran of stage and screen, Graham Greene has appeared at the Stratford Festival and in Hollywood blockbusters. The Oscar nominee and Grammy winner humbly accepted a plaque at the Canada's Walk of Fame ceremony

A chance encounter at a restaurant with former Stratford Festival artistic director Richard Monette afforded an Oscar-nominated actor an opportunity of a lifetime. 

Graham Greene's stellar resume would soon include the esteemed roles of Lenny in Of Mice and Men and Shylock in Merchant of Venice. 

More importantly, Greene found a new home, a place to "hang his hat". 

Greene was presented with a Canada Walk of Fame plaque at the Tom Patterson Theatre on Monday.

"It's a deep honour, one of the highest honours I can think of," Greene said of the award, initially announced last year. 

The hometown stars initiative through Canada's Walk of Fame, started in 2017, allows recipients a chance to be honoured in their 'hometown',  with a plaque to be mounted at a location of their choice. The not-for-profit organization inspires Canadians by recognizing extraordinary achievers and their accomplishments. 

A full house at Lazaridis Hall watched Green humbly accept the award. Originally from Oshweken on the Six Nations of the Grand River reserve, Greene has called Stratford home for more than a decade. 

"I was asked what makes Stratford my hometown. It's where I live. Where I eat, where I sleep. Where my loved ones are, where my friends, my peers (are). It's a place I come back to after every journey, after every job. I don't want to be anywhere else except Stratford."

Greene said his father called him a job hopper as a young man. He was a welder, iron worker, carpenter and carpet layer. Known for playing indigenous characters, a role alongside Kevin Costner in Dances With Wolves in 1990 earned him an Oscar nomination. Greene has more than 100 screen credits and has appeared in blockbuster Hollywood productions and on television. He won a Grammy award for the best spoken word album for children for Listen to the Storyteller.

Greene is an Order of Canada honouree, given to Canadians who have made extraordinary contributions to the country. 

Current Stratford Festival artistic director Antoni Cimolino said Greene is not only one of the "most talented people you'll ever want to meet" but one of the nicest, known for his humble nature, despite working with a catalogue of "everybody who is anybody in Hollywood".

Cimolino, noting Greene's performance in Of Mice and Men was at the former Tom Patterson Theatrecalled Greene a pioneer within the artistic community, bringing to the stage strength, decency, quirkiness, a mad sense of humour and mischief and power that comes from internal integrity.

Graham Greene as Shylock with members of the Stratford Festival company. Photo courtesy of Richard Bain/Stratford Festival

Greene thanked the many who have helped him in a nearly 50-year career, including his wife alongside him in the front row, Hilary Blackmore. 

In an interview, Greene said the Walk of Fame honour ranks at the top of an illustrious career. He hopes the award inspires youth to follow their dreams. 

Past recipients shown in a video presentation include Ryan Reynolds, Alanis Morissette and Mark Messier. 

Greene is donating $5,000 each to the Alley Cat Cafe and Stratford Perth Humane Society, through prize money from Canada's Walk of Fame. Juno award-winning musician Ron Sexsmith, a Stratford resident, performed at the ceremony. 

Ever the entertainer, and knowing his career will end one day, Greene jokingly said he will keep doing what he is doing until they give him the big lifetime achievement award and "slam the lid."

You can look at an online photo gallery of the event here: