Murray Laufer

Obituary of Murray Bernard Laufer

On June 17, 2021, the world lost an artist and mensch like no other. In his 92nd year, Murray Laufer took his last breath surrounded by family and song. As a youth, Murray stood out as a remarkable student, artist and hockey player. He went on to attend the Ontario College of Art, where he received the Reeves and Son Scholarship and in 1952 graduated with honours. It is also where he met the love of his life, Marie Day.


 A pioneer of Canadian theatre, Murray designed productions for the Stratford Festival, the Canadian Opera Company, the Shaw Festival, the Banff Centre, the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts, and the long-running stage production of Anne of Green Gables at the Charlottetown Festival. 


Murray’s superb theatrical designs were recognized internationally. He received an award for Design Excellence from the Prague Quadrennial Festival of Stage Design and Theatre Architecture, and returned there as the Commissioner General of Canada. His designs represented our nation at Expo ’70 in Japan and were staged at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., as part of Canada’s gift to the US on its bicentennial.


Murray was the first recipient of Ontario’s Pauline McGibbon Honorary Award in Theatre Arts. Concordia University awarded him an honourary doctorate of laws, and he received the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts’ Silver Ticket Award, in recognition of his outstanding contribution to stage design. 


Throughout Murray Laufer’s celebrated design career, his true love was always painting, and several of his extraordinary works are part of the permanent collection of the Art Gallery of Ontario. Above all, Murray’s passion was his family – his wife Marie, daughters Naomi and Vanessa, granddaughter Saskia, and son-in-law Cyrus. All those touched by Murray are forever blessed. SLZ.


Expressions of condolence are welcomed at


An update is forthcoming about a charity to which donations can be directed in Murray’s memory.


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