Shaun Johnston Heartland

Shaun Johnston Heartland Jack Bartlett

Shaun Johnston Heartland

All of us Heartland fans are well acquainted with Jack Bartlett, the grizzled grandfather who acts as the patriarch on the show. He is known to be able to say the right things at the right time, and to hold the family together. He is played by the actor Shaun Johnston, who is not only an actor, but also a director and a musician.

Shaun Johnston was born in Ponoka, Alberta, in 1958 and grew up on a farm. This means he and his character on Heartland had some things in common! He was a cowboy in real life before he ever started to play one on tv.

Over his career, Shaun Johnston has won awards for best actor more than once, too!

Read on to learn more about Shaun Johnston, including some fun facts that not everyone may know.

Shaun Johnston Originally Auditioned for the Role of Tim Fleming in Heartland

Originally, Shaun was not after the role of Jack Bartlett. He actually auditioned for the role of Tim Fleming on Heartland instead! Being Grandpa Jack was a role that had not even occurred to him at the time. This is because he was only in his mid 40s when he auditioned for the show, and thought he would have been too young to play Jack Bartlett.

However, he received a callback for the role of Jack, much to his surprise. Once he read the script, Shaun connected with the character of Jack and his Western heroic archetype. To play Jack, though, Shaun had to work to deepen his voice and learn Jack’s telltale walk. 

Over the many seasons, Shaun has, of course, learned to love being Grandpa Jack. He is always eager to put a more comical spin on the character, and is also proud to be one of those who has almost never fallen off of a Heartland horse. 

The cast and crew also say that it is Shaun who really creates that family vibe and atmosphere on the Heartland set. He has said that since he is older and more experienced, he feels the responsibility and urge to take everyone else under his wing on set! 

Also Read – Where is Heartland Filmed?

Shaun Johnston’s Son Plays Jack’s Younger Self on Heartland

Shaun Johnston’s son didn’t have any acting experience, but this did not stop the Heartland team from tapping him to play the younger version of Jack Bartlett on the show! For example, in season 13, episode 3, titled “Rearview Mirror”, Jack looks back on the time that he spent training horses in his youth with his sister June.

When Shaun came to his son about taking on the role, his son was eager to do so! Shaun gave his boy some acting lessons to prepare— once he got on set, nobody could tell that he wasn’t a professional actor because he was so confident!

Shaun Johnston is an Avid Singer and Guitar Player

In addition to being an accomplished actor, Shaun Johnston is also a musician. Just like his character on Heartland, he has a passion for music, and Shaun has even written and performed songs for the show. 

He has a personal music project that he has titled “The Book of Shaun”. In this project, Shaun Joghnston takes his listeners behind the scenes so they can see how the songs developed and evolved into the final versions that we now hear today. Plus, he talks about the stories and meanings behind the songs, as well as their full chords and lyrics. 

The mp3 files of The Book of Shaun are able to be downloaded from his website, and Shaun donates all of the proceeds to the non profit organization Habitat For Humanity Okanagan. Fans love his music, but Shaun does it for fun and focuses on his acting in a more professional and career forward capacity. 

Shaun Johnston Found his Passion for Acting at Law School

Did you know that Shaun Johnston was almost not an actor at all? He was not one of the actors who was acting since they learned how to talk, that’s for sure! He worked in his family business for a few years and then decided he wanted to go to law school. However, in order to go on to his second semester of school, he needed one more credit— so he took an acting class. 

The instructor of this drama class noted his talent and suggested that Shaun look into a career in acting instead. Not long after that, Shaun enrolled in the acting program at University of Alberta and got his Bachelor of Fine Arts from here. 

Shain has said the following when speaking of his career and how he was raised: “Having grown up on the prairies has had a great influence on my work as an actor. I like to believe my approach is open and natural.”.

Shaun Johnston Co-founded the Shadow Theatre in Edmonton

At first, early on in his career, Shaun Johnston was not a screen actor— rather, he was a theater actor. He has said that he was therefore trained in the “traditional way”. 

When he was a drama student at the University of Alberta, Shaun wanted to open his own theater someday. And he was able to achieve this dream! Shaun co founded the Shadow Theater in Edmonton, along with John Hudson, who was a classmate of his and is still a dear friend. The Shadow Theatre still has one of the strongest subscription bases in the area. 

These days, Shaun is not involved in the running of the theater. However, John Hudson is still on the Board of Directors! 

Shaun Johnston is a Multi Award Winning Actor

Shaun started acting in tv series, rather than on stage, once he began to be approached by producers after his theater performances. He was a tall and thin man when he was younger, so he was often tapped to play the bad guys or villains in the beginning of his tv career. 

Shaun’s first lead role was in the drama Two Brothers a Girl and a Gun. It won him his first Alberta Film & Television Award for Best Actor. He has also received a Gemini nomination for his role as Jack on Heartland. Back in 2011, Shaun was awarded the David Billington Award for those who make valuable contributions to Alberta’s media production. 

Shaun Johnston Regularly Donates to Charity

Another great thing about Shaun Johnston is that he donates to charities! He has worked to raise funds for many different organizations, which include Autism Calgary, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and Children’s Cottage Society.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why did Shawn leave Heartland?

Shaun Johnston is the actor who plays Jack Bartlett on the Heartland tv series. Jack Bartlett is the patriarch of the clan that owns the Heartland ranch. Luckily, Shaun Johnston has not left the Heartland cast!

He is still a member of the show and there is no news that he is, or will be, leaving anytime soon! That being said, with all characters, there are seasons where they are more or less prevalent, and this is due to the large cast of characters all needing their turn in the spotlight. 

Is Shaun Johnston still in Heartland?

Yes, Shaun Johnston is still on Heartland and is still a part of the cast! He is the actor who plays Jack Bartlett, and has been a part of the show across many years and many seasons. He is a Heartland staple!

There are certainly points where Shaun or his character, Jack, do not appear as often, and this may lead fans to believe he is no longer on the show. However, that is not true. Sometimes, different storylines focus on different characters, so the other characters who are not a part of the story arc do not appear on screen as much as that particular story is told.

Does Jack on Heartland wear a wig?

Hair and makeup can be a big part of different movie or television sets. So you may wonder what sorts of hair and makeup prep is required of the actors on the Heartland set! After all, the show is not a very glamorous one with lots of fancy events or galas— it is set on a ranch. One of the things that is required of Jack Bartlett’s character is a wig.

Yes, that’s right— Shaun Johnsotn has to wear a wig on screen when he plays the character of Jack Bartlett. 

What happens to Jack on Heartland?

There are many different storylines that focus on Jack Bartlett throughout the seasons of Heartland. For example, in season 6, episode 18, he had a heart attack!

This left fans worried and wondering if he would be returning in the next season— or if his character was getting killed off. Luckily, Jack survived the heart attack and went on to have a part in the ensuing seasons of the Heartland tv show. Thank goodness, because Grandpa Jack has become a bit of a fan favorite!