Beloved local actor dies at 59

By Grant LaFleche, The Standard


It was an amazing metamorphosis to witness. Paul Gosen had seen it many times, but he was in awe every time they sat down to read together.

For more than three decades, he would help his wife Kathie Gosen rehearse for a role in a Garden City Productions performance.

Guys and Dolls. Cabaret. Nunsense. Annie. Before each theatre role, she read her lines with her husband.

“She had this amazing ability to just become the character she was playing on stage, and there would not be a whiff of her real personality,” Paul says.

“She had a terrible time remembering her lines. Of course, when she got on stage she was brilliant. But we’d read together every time.” Kathie Gosen, one of the most popular and best-known Garden City Productions actors, died Sunday of a heart attack at her home.

She was 59.

Her artistic nature was an inheritance from her father, Floyd Crabtree, who was a professional musician.

“I’m sure that is where she got it from. She comes from a lineage of true performers and entertainers,” said Linda Crabtree, Kathie Gosen’s sister. “I have no doubt that is where she got her amazing voice from. I wish she had recorded a CD, because we’ll never hear that lovely voice again.”

In her younger days, Gosen performed in plays and sang at St. Catharines Collegiate and for a short time at Brock University before marrying Paul, a painter.

Although talented, she often downplayed her abilities.

“She was really humble like that. When you brought it up, she would shrug and say, ‘Oh yeah,’ but that was it. She never pushed her talent,” Crabtree said.

“She didn’t want to go farther. She really loved her life with Paul and their children.”

It was her mother-in-law, Barbara Gosen — a well-known actor in local theatre in her own right — who got Gosen on stage.

GCP president Jean Wesley worked with Gosen for years and said the actor was almost without ego.

“She would take on any role she was given. It didn’t matter to her if it was part of a chorus, or a leading role,” Wesley said. “She jumped into every part she played.”

Longtime GCP actor Jerome Black worked with Gosen since 2001 and said her combination of talent and humility made her special.

“She wasn’t doing it to advance herself. She did it because she just really loved singing and acting and the people,” said Black.

“It is like I told someone today, she was liberal with her laughter. If you spent any time with her, you knew you would leave having laughed and smiled a lot.”

Gosen was most recently cast to reprise the role of Miss Hannigan in Annie, a part she first played a decade ago. The show is set to open in March. Wesley said the show will go on, but Gosen will be deeply missed.

Paul Gosen, who owns a mural painting business, said his daughters Kathleen and Julia inherited their parents’ artistic talents.

Kathie Gosen is also survived by many nieces and cousins.

Funeral arrangements haven’t yet been finalized.


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