|November’s Canadian of the Month
Actor & Veteran
Canadian born actress Anne Bedian didn’t start her young career in the arts, but rather in the military as a soldier. Bedian served in the Canadian Armed Forces at the age of 17 as a Bosn. She was one of the first women to enter that trade, which included training for demolitions, small arms, firefighting and chemical warfare. She was the youngest member on board the HMCS Nipigon, the first warship to employ women. Oddly enough in her theatrical acting career playing a variety of roles ranging from cops, psychics, waitresses – she has never portrayed a soldier.
However her proficiency for speaking several languages and incredible range of dialects has served her artistic career well. Bedian is fluent in English, French, Armenian, Spanish, German and self-taught reading Hebrew and Russian, and is also skilled at performing roles which require dialects including Middle Eastern and European.
Anne began both her Meisner training and her career in her hometown of Montreal, then moved to Toronto and then to New York where she furthered her Meisner training with Ron Stetson of the Neighborhood Playhouse, before finally landing in Los Angeles.
Being a veteran, tell us what Remembrance Day means to you?
As a civilian today (and have been for many years), Remembrance Day definitely evokes my past and gives me pause to both reflect and feel a very special sense of pride that I belong to this “club” of men & women who have served their country. My most formative and important years were spent as a soldier and for that, I have to thank the Canadian Navy.
You served in the Canadian Armed Forces at the age of 17 as a Bosn, which included training for demolitions, small arms, firefighting and chemical warfare. What was it like to break into that position as such a young person and as one of the first females?
It was the most fantastic experience EVER. Canada was exemplary and ahead of many other countries with regards to opening up trades to women, posting women on combat ready warships versus supply ships only. I have to admit, recruiters were a little surprised at my trade choice and although no one discouraged me, some did have a look on their face as if to say ” are you really sure about this…?”
You’ve received a medal for serving in NATO – what was your experience like in NATO and what advice do you have for those looking to serve in the Forces?
I used to see young soldiers from other countries with several medals pinned on their uniforms and found out they were given to them for having graduated or passed various training or classes. We didn’t have that in Canada. So when I got a medal, I was shocked and confused. Apparently, in my three years of service, I had sailed 180 days (or over) on NATO tours and that had qualified me.
Imagine it’s 1990, the Nato fleet made up of approximately eight ships from different countries is sailing in formation, and seven ships are trying to have a peek at the Canadian destroyer because it’s the only ship in the fleet with women and alcohol. Everyone wanted to be us! No, I stand corrected. The Deutsch had alcohol. And they didn’t have to cut their hair. I mean, the men’s hair was longer than most women’s! Looked quite strange in a uniform but we got used to it 🙂
You speak English, Armenian French, German and Spanish and self-taught in reading Hebrew and Russian! How did you learn them all and what tips do you have for picking up a new language?
When you grow up in Montreal and come from immigrant parents, you will most likely be taught three languages simultaneously: French, English and your parents’ native language. As luck (or misfortune I had thought at the time) would have it, I was forced to begin studying Spanish in high school. Compared to Armenian, Spanish was a breeze, especially with having French as a background. Studying German was an elective I chose in university after my three years of military service. During a Nato tour, I realized that the German ship and its crew were kept a little bit at arm’s length by the other countries’ sailors. Sometimes even teased with chants such as ” Two world wars and one world cup dooda dooda…”. Not only did the Germans receive us Canadians like royalty onboard their ship but were friendly, kind, hospitable and eager to share/exchange trade skills and culture. I kept in touch with some of them and promised that one day I would call them and speak to them in German. And I did.
With such an incredible career in serving in the Forces and being such a skilled linguist, why acting?
The nudge for acting preceded the military. At the time, I could not convince my parents to let me pursue a career as an actress.
How did you make your break acting in Hollywood?
I climbed small hills till it turned into a mountain. Started on the homefront in Montreal, once I was established there within the industry, I used that resume and experience to get an agent in Toronto. I duplicated that process in Toronto to get me to New York. I duplicated that process in New York to get me to Los Angeles. Perseverance, perseverance, perseverance. Thank God for my military discipline, that’s all I can say.
What was it like working on Curb Your Enthusiasm and with Larry David?
Like making history. And we did! All I can say is that before LD, my people had a hard time getting me into a room for comedy. I kinda understood as my background and experience was heavy with dramatic roles and nothing funny really. Then Larry thought I was funny enough for his show. It’s definitely made it way easier to go up for comedic roles.
What are you working on now?
I worked on a film called The Attempt and it went to both Cannes and Vienna Film Festivals. As a descendant of genocide survivors, taking on the role of an Armenian woman in 1915 hardly required any “role research” or even acting, to be honest.
That this film is currently winning awards and screening around the world at this critical time for Armenia is almost eerie. I have not been able to enjoy the success of this film, which I am extremely proud of, because as I write this, a genocide is being “Attempted” again by Turkey and Azerbaijan. The soldier in me has woken up, the actress has taken a seat.
More info for tv & film credits on IMDB: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0619549/?ref_=nmbio_bio_nm