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Actress and former senator Viola Leger, best known as La Sagouine, dies at 92

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Actress, teacher and former senator Viola Leger has died at the age of 92.

A release from management company Le Grenier musique says Leger died Saturday in Dieppe, New Brunswick.

Leger was best known for her portrayal of the character La Sagouine in the play of the same name by Antonine Maillet, playing the role more than three-thousand times and winning the Dora Mavor Moore Award in 1981 for her performance. In 2013, she was recognized by the Governor General's Performing Arts Awards with the Lifetime Artistic Achievement for theatre.

She was appointed to the Senate in 2001 by then Liberal Prime Minister Jean Chretien, serving as a representative of New Brunswick until 2005.

In a statement on Facebook, federal Minister of Official Languages Ginette Petitpas Taylor wrote Acadia will never again have such a loyal ambassador, saying La Sagouine was not only the role of Leger's career and life, but "also represented a symbol of great pride and tenacity for all Acadians."

Leger was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1989.

She retired from public life in 2017 after having suffering a stroke.

Funeral arrangements will be announced in the near future.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 29, 2023.

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