Huguette Oligny (born Montréal, 31 Jan 1922). Born to a soldier in the 22nd Regiment and a French mother who was a journalist, she gravitated naturally toward the theatre at the tender age of 17, having accompanied her mother who worked for the newspaper La Presse, to numerous cultural events. She soon joined Père Émile Legault’s COMPAGNONS DU SAINT-LAURENT. Distinguished by her eloquent diction, she went to Hollywood in 1944 to dub American films. Six years later, she returned to the fold and was welcomed enthusiastically by the Théâtre du Nouveau-Monde company. Her career then gathered momentum, taking her to major stages.
She was at the heart of classical theatre performances where she brilliantly portrayed the whole range of female roles, among them Célimène in Molière’s Le Misanthrope, Elmire in Tartuffe, Dona Honoria in Claudel’s Le soulier de satin, Marguerite in La dame aux camélias by Alexandre Dumas fils, and Maria in Chekov’s Uncle Vanya. She also dedicated herself to Quebec theatre in plays that are now cultural classics in Québec. She was central to the cast of Marcel Dubé’s Le temps des lilas, and Tit-Coq and Hier les enfants dansaient, by Gratien GÉLINAS, a play in which she toured Canada also in its English version (Yesterday the children were dancing). During this tour a deep love blossomed with Gélinas which led to their marriage in 1973, lasting until the latter’s death in 1999. In 1986, this couple, who were the darling of the public, appeared on stage in the play La passion de Narcisse Mondoux, giving more than 600 performances. Huguette Oligny was also cast in Michel Tremblay’s Albertine en cinq temps, portraying the role of Albertine in her characteristic way. Her bilingual status enabled her to perform on stages across Canada, the United States and in several European cities. In 2000, the grande dame du théâtre oblige, she went on tour as the solo character in Françoise Loranger’s La dame de cent ans.
Oligny’s film and television career was equally outstanding. She played in a dozen or so films including such unforgettable roles as the mother in Kamouraska by the remarkable Claude JUTRA, and she put her stamp on several TV series, among them “Rue des Pignons”, “Métro Boulot-Dodo”, “Monsieur le minister” and ”Le clan Beaulieu”. She also appeared in a number of television dramas including “Marc-Aurèle Fortin” and”Adieu Françoise.”
In addition to her career, Huguette Oligny was on the Council of the Union des artistes (1962-1964) and on more than one occasions she won the annual trophy for best francophone actress in Canada. She was named an Officer of the Order of Canada (1984) and promoted to Companion in 1997. She was named an Officer of the Ordre national du Québec in 1999.