Remembering Patty Brown, and why her ACR legacy is worth emulating…

There’s a quote often attributed to the great Renaissance artist and polymath Leonardo da Vinci: “The smallest feline is a masterpiece.” Even if it’s not da Vinci’s quote, such a learned man would likely run with it anyway, agreeing that there is something magical—otherworldly even—in the beauty and grace of cats.

It’s something Patricia Carroll Ann Brown knew very well. Indeed, as long-time friend Lori MacLean recalls, Patty—as she was widely known—frequently conjured a phrase of her own: “Thousands of years ago, cats were worshipped as gods. And they’ve never forgotten it.”

Described as a consummate woman of the theatre—mainly as an actress but also as a noted director and playwright—Patty adored cats, which brought her great joy throughout her life until her death in the summer of 2014 at 82 years of age.

At that time, Patty had two cherished cats, both adopted through Annex Cat Rescue: a black-and-white boy she named Harry and a black girl dubbed Miss Diva.

Patty Brown

“She really was one of those fervent cat lovers,” MacLean chuckles, explaining that the two met at the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre circa 1989; MacLean as front-of-house manager, Patty supplementing her acting income as an usher.

MacLean continues: “I’ve been going through her personal possessions over the last few months and there are hundreds of photographs of her with her cats. They were such good and loving companions to her.”


Patty was determined to celebrate that companionability. In an act of tremendous pay-it-forward kindness, she bequeathed a generous sum to ACR, allowing our charity to continue assisting displaced and homeless cats and kittens across the GTA through multiple outreach and placement programs, all volunteer run.

Patty also donated generously to the Toronto Humane Society; instances of estate planning at its most altruistic and impactful and gestures worth mimicking by anyone seeking to make a lasting difference for animals at a grassroots level.

MacLean confirms Patty would be thrilled to know Harry and Miss Diva were successfully placed together in a new forever home. “And those two cats—now both about 10 years old—are still thriving,” she says.

“Patty felt strongly that ACR was a good beneficiary because it specifically serves cats.” MacLean adds. “That she was thinking charitably even when she wasn’t doing so great herself was really something, and speaks to her lifelong love of animals.”

— Kim Hughes

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