Deborah Jarvis


Deborah Jarvis (1954 to 2019) was a gifted comic and talented writer to whom John was married for 34 years, from 1985 to 2019. They got engaged at midnight on New Year’s Eve, 1984, on a deserted beach in the Dominican Republic, where they were accosted by a drunken soldier with a loaded M16. A $10 bill made him go away.

Deborah Ann Jarvis

1954 to 2019

Actor, Comedienne, Writer


Deborah was always the funniest one in the room, everyone agreed. Writer’s rooms, green rooms, comedy clubs across Canada. It was always the same, Deb had the funniest lines, the sharpest takes and the best timing, always moving the show along. Deborah Jarvis didn’t suffer fools gladly, and if you couldn’t keep up, she’d leave you behind.

This is not to say Deb was not a firm and loyal friend, true to her values, and always willing to pitch in to help. In Crete, she led an exhausted platoon of Belgian soldiers out of the Samarian Gorge by sheer force of will. They were going to give up and wait for a helicopter.

Deb was so Toronto it was comical. Educated at the consummate Toronto pedagogical triumvirate of Allenby School, North Toronto Collegiate and University of Toronto, Deb took her BA in English Literature, because that’s what she was, a bluestocking FOOF.

Deb took to the stage almost immediately after university, commencing a long run in the perennial Toronto hit, The Mousetrap. A stint at the Stratford Festival followed, and then she discovered comedy. Stand-up, open mic, sketch, improv, all culminating in a long running gig with the Second City National Touring Company, followed by the Second City Main Stage Company in Toronto, where she worked with a young Mike Myers.

Having worn out the old soft shoe, Deb turned to writing the jokes instead of performing them. She attended the Canadian Film Centre TV/Film Writers Workshop, and started a twenty-year writing career, creating, writing and story-editing popular young people’s television like Ready or Not, Majority Rules, Miss BG, Eckhart, Treasure Trekkers and Beat Bugs, for which the writing team won a Daytime Emmy. By the time she was ready to retire, her career encompassed story editing international teams of writers on three continents and working for world-spanning co-productions in multiple languages. Deborah was a proud member of ACTRA, Equity and The Writers Guild of Canada.

Deborah is survived by her beloved sister, Jill Jarvis-Tonus, her niece Kristen Tonus and her nephew Andrew Tonus, and by her awestruck husband, John Corbett. Deborah is pre-deceased by her beloved parents, former Flying Officer John Gordon Jarvis, RAF, and Christina Jarvis, née Rigg.

Memorial service at Morley-Bedford Funeral Home, 159 Eglinton Avenue West, Toronto, ON, Saturday, March 2 at 2:00PM. Visitation at Morley-Bedford on Friday, March 1, from 5:00 to 8:00PM. Interment at St Mary’s Church, Lifford, ON, later in the spring. In lieu of flowers, donations to the Humane Society or those who care for feral cat colonies would be appreciated.