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Toller Cranston

( b. Apr 20, 1949 Hamilton, Ontario, CANADA - d. Jan 24, 2015 San Miguel de Allende, MEXICO ) Male
Toller Cranston fell short of a gold medal in figure skating's marquee international events, but he played a major role in popularizing his sport with a pioneering artistic flair that delighted fans and influenced champions to come.

Cranston did win six consecutive Canadian men's figure skating championships, along with a world championships bronze medal and an Olympic bronze, in the 1970s.

Cranston's style was often likened to dancing, and he was sometimes referred to as the Rudolf Nureyev of figure skating. He did not like to be compared to anyone else, but as he put it when he was starring in a 1977 professional ice show at the Palace Theater on Broadway, "Our delicate egos are probably somewhat the same onstage." Cranston, who retired from competition after the 1976 Olympics, displayed his form for New Yorkers in May 1977 when he headlined Toller Cranston's the Ice Show at the Palace.

Cranston's stylishness emerged when figure skating competitions still included the compulsory tracing of figure eights, which he called "boring and degrading." He won the Canadian men's singles crown every year from 1971 to 1976. But his lackluster scores in the figure eights cost him a chance at international gold.

After his competitive years he was a figure skating commentator for the CBC, headlined ice shows and choreographed championship figure skating routines before concentrating on his paintings, many with themes related to skating, while living in a city in Mexico that he chose for its cosmopolitan atmosphere and its art community. His paintings were shown at museums and galleries.

Source: The New York Times obituary 

ProductionsDate of Productions
Toller Cranston's "The Ice Show"
[Special, Original]
  • Starring: Toller Cranston
May 19, 1977 - Jul 10, 1977
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