Maureen Forrester, Canadian operatic contralto, was born and grew up in Montreal, one of four children of Thomas Forrester, a Scottish cabinetmaker, and his Irish-born wife, the former May Arnold. She sang in church and radio choirs. At age 13, she dropped out of school to help support the family.
Her brother persuaded her to take singing lessons. She paid for voice lessons with Sally Martin, Frank Rowe, and baritone Bernard Diamant. She made her concert debut in Beethoven's Ninth Symphony with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra. She made her New York City debut in 1956.
In 1957, she married the Toronto violinist and conductor Eugene Kash. The couple had five children, including actors Linda Kash and Daniel Kash.
Maureen Forrester died on June 16, 2010, aged 79, in Toronto, after a long battle with dementia. She was predeceased by her former husband, whom she had divorced in 1974, and who died in 2004. She was survived by her five children.