Widely acknowledged as a founder of modern French-Canadian theatre, his status is due almost equally to his contributions, in chronological order, as actor, author and director over a period of more than 60 years.

Gélinas was born in the village of Saint-Tite de Champlain, but brought in early infancy to Montreal. His mother, Geneva Davidson, of Scots-Irish extraction, and his father Mathias, a salesman and saddler by trade but chronically under- or unemployed and alcoholic, proved to be incompatible, something of which Gratien was long ashamed, especially when the marriage dissolved and his father disappeared for years at a time.

After traditional classical studies at the Collège de Montréal …

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Doucette, Leonard Eugene. "Gratien Gélinas". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 27 February 2008
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=5260, accessed 29 November 2015.]