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There are entertainment legends, and then there is Tom Jackson, a triple-threat actor, musician, and activist whose achievements in each discipline are downright head-spinning. His career is unparalleled, not to mention wildly acclaimed, abundantly decorated, and almost ridiculously interesting. Heck, he could be a pub night trivia category all by himself.
You’ll never hear Tom begin or end any sentence “when I’m retired”. He thrives as a people whisperer, a thoughtful collaborator in all facets of his work, and a force for positivity. His stride matches his 6’5” frame. 2018 marked the release of The Essential Tom Jackson, a dazzling two-disc, 21-track retrospective spotlighting his inimitable talent as a folk-pop singer/songwriter of the highest order and an artist intrinsically linked to the world around him, both the real and the ethereal.
It’s impossible to regard Tom’s music separately from the other aspects of his remarkable career which include (but are not limited to) countless marquee TV roles on hit shows like North of 60, Shining Time Station, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Law & Order and Red Earth Uncovered. Most recent guest roles in Season 4 of Outlander, and Season 3 of Cardinal keep the phone ringing.
There are also movies, lots of movies, including the dark comedy thriller Cold Pursuit opposite Liam Neeson. The Irish actor joins a long and very boldface list of onetime Tom Jackson colleagues — also including but not limited to — Eric Bana, Olivia Wilde, Kris Kristofferson, and Sissy Spacek (in 2012's Deadfall), Bruce Greenwood (2005’s Mee-Shee: The Water Giant), and Bryan Brown (1999’s Grizzly Falls). Notably, many small- and big-screen parts have leveraged Tom’s Indigenous heritage for their dynamic characters; still others have employed his mellifluous tones for voiceovers.
Tom is understandably proud of all that. Yet it is his extensive charitable work — in particular, helming the long-running Huron Carole Christmas concert tours for Canadian food banks plus multiple other initiatives — that is arguably his crowning achievement. The act of giving comes naturally and spreads easily with his indefatigable energy to be on the look-out for those in need. 2020 is no exception as he produced and hosted the 12-episode online variety series Almighty Voices where artists and thought leaders delivered performances and messages to create joy, health, and dollars for Unison Benevolent Fund, a charitable agency providing emergency relief services to the Canadian music community. The Huron Carole toured virtually by Zoom in 2020 for various agencies as they searched for creative ways to connect and remedy a dramatic loss of donors. With over $230 million in combined cash/in-kind value for food banks and disaster relief raised to date, it’s no wonder Tom, currently an Ambassador for the Red Cross, was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2000, and in November 2020 promoted to Companion – the highest designation within the order.
Multiple additional honours, including the 2007 Juno and Gemini Humanitarian Awards, Playback’s Radio & Television Hall of Fame, and the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement have been bestowed on him over the years contributing to his status as one of Canada’s most influential, distinguished, and revered sons.
“I am of the opinion that art is the single most powerful vehicle for change in the history of the human race.”