Norma Macmillan

Norma Macmillan had a wide-ranging career in the arts, including the production of her plays, Crowded Affair and Free as a Bird, in the 1950s and 1960s by BC’s groundbreaking Totem Theatre and New Jersey’s famed Grist Mill Playhouse. But she is best known as the actress who was the voice of television’s Gumby and Casper the Friendly Ghost. The Maquinna Line began when the family lived at Sunset Boulevard’s legendary Chateau Marmont. Norma continued to work on the book after she and her husband, Thor Arngrim, returned to Vancouver, but it languished in the back of a closet after she died in 2001, at the age of 79. Thor and veteran Vancouver writer Charles Campbell revived it, and it is a tribute to an old-fashioned storytelling tradition that respects history but isn’t afraid to enliven it.