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Passages – 2018

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Passages, 2018, image

Passages – 2018
by Ralph Lucas – Publisher

(January 1, 2019 – Toronto, ON) The new year, 2018, was just 8 days old when word came of the passing of actor Donnelly Rhodes. He started out in life as Donnelly Henry and his first job was as far away from the bright lights of the theatre or sound stage as you can get. He was a trainee warden in Manitoba’s National Park and then joined the Royal Canadian Air Force. Donnelly Rhodes Henry was 80 when he died of cancer in British Columbia on January 8. We posted a longer story the next day which links to his full filmography.

Jacques Languirand was 86 when he died on January 26. Mainly known in Québec, his professional career included being a radio host, writer and actor. His film credits were sparse and his last appearance was in the 2012 film Mars et Avril. His most important work was at the typewriter. Languirand was a renowned playwright and in the 1950s and 1960s he was Canada’s most important exponent of the theatre of the absurd, having been influenced by playwrights in vogue while he was living in Paris between 1949 and 1953. Jacques Languirand died due to Alzheimer’s disease. There is more information here.

Three days later Canada lost one of the few true gentleman in the business. Jay Switzer was born Jacob Howard Switzer on July 11, 1956 in Calgary and grew up in Lethbridge Alberta. Known as a TV executive, he spent most of his career with the once independent CHUM Limited, particularly for his years at Toronto’s CITY-TV beginning in 1983. Switzer oversaw the launch and development of the early specialty channel, MuchMusic and in March 2000, he was named senior vice-president and general manager of the company. He became President and CEO of CHUM Ltd. in 2002, succeeding the company’s founder, Allan Waters. A change in the company’s ownership led him to step down in 2007. Over the next few years he was involved at a very senior level in a variety of projects and companies including serving as a board member of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters, the Banff Television Festival, the National Association of Television Program Executives and the Toronto Film Board. He served as Chair of the board of GlassBOX Television from 2009-2011 and then sat on the boards of OUTtv, Shaftesbury Films Inc. and Comweb Corporation. In 2010 he co-founded the independent multi-platform movie broadcaster Hollywood Suite. Diagnosed with glioblastoma in August 2017, Jay Switzer was 61 when he died in Toronto on January 29. He was married to actress Ellen Dubin.

Alfred ‘Alf’ Humphreys appeared in more than 100 movies and TV shows. His interest in acting began when he was an usher at the Odeon theatre in North Bay. He was 18 when he left school to join the military and then became a bush guide in Northern Ontario, Baffin Island, and western Quebec. He moved on after being fired from that job when he discovered a Alf Humphreys, actor,small theatre company in North Bay. His career in front of the camera began with work in commercials. Born August 9, 1953, in Haileybury, Ontario, Alf Humphreys was 64 when he died of brian cancer in Stratford, Ontario on January 31.

On February 1st, William Whitehead died. He was a writer and what a writer he was. He spent five decades contributing to some of CBC’s most renowned documentary programming. For example he wrote more than 100 episodes of the award-winning series, The Nature of Things. His interest in the natural world began early and he graduated with a BSc and master’s degree in biology from the University of Saskatchewan. Whitehead adapted Farley Mowat’s controversial Sea of Slaughter and wrote two of the eight episodes of the landrmark 1985 series A Planet for the Taking, which took more than three years to film in locations all over our fragile planet asking the difficult question, Are humans the most important species on the planet? Other projects of note include his work on the documentary mini-series Images of Canada, that ran from 1972 to 1976. Working with his life partner, novelist and playwright Timothy Findley, Whitehead adapted Pierre Berton’s The National Dream and wrote Dieppe 1942, about the disastrous Allied attack where so many Canadians lost their lives. In 2006, he put his retirement on hold and worked with Terence Macartney-Filgate on the TV documentary Raising Valhalla, about the construction of Toronto’s new opera house. Born in Hamilton, Ontario on August 16, 1931, William Frederick Whitehead had been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer in December of 2017 and died at his home in Toronto on February 1st, at the age of 86.

Tina Louise Bomberry began life in 1966 on the Six Nations of the Grand River Reserve in Ontario. The Indigenous actor had only a handful of credits but made her mark appearing as the feisty yet compassionate Rosie Deela in 79 episodes of North of 60 between 1992 and 1997 as well as a couple of made-for-TV North of 60 movies. In addition to her work in front of the cameras Bomberry was also a singer, traditional women’s dancer, storyteller, stage manager, production assistant, workshop facilitator, casting director audition coach and an accomplished artist. She was 52 when she died on February 10 at her home on the Six Nations reserve near Brantford, Ontario.

We don’t list radio broadcasters on Northernstars, but Arthur Black was special to Canadians. He was the host of Basic Black a staple of Saturday morning CBC Radio for 19 years, which was one of the network’s most popular variety shows, heard by 600,000 listeners every week. The show went off the air in 2002 when Black retired. He was 74 when in died at Lady Minto Hospital on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

Canadian comedian and actor Mike MacDonald was 62 when he died on March 17. Click here to read much more about the life and career of Mike MacDonald in a story originally posted on March 18.

On April 4, actor Ron White died. He had an extensive career in film and television. Some of his most notable roles include Conrad Peters in the Tom Stone series and Donny Caswell in Black Harbour. Born in 1953 in Dawson Creek, British Columbia, Ron White was 64 when he died in Toronto of cancer.

Kevin Tierney, producer,
I had a chance to meet and talk with Kevin Tierney when he was in Toronto to promote his film French Immersion. It was a comedy that he directed and co-wrote and co-produced about five people from the Rest of Canada taking a crash course in French in a remote Québec community. He had high hopes for it and had thought there might be a sequel. A staunch Montrealer, Tierney is probably best remembered for producing and co-writing the 2006 bilingual hit Bon Cop Bad Cop, which became the top-grossing Canadian movie that year. He had started his career in the mid-1980s as a film publicist and went on to produce highly acclaimed projects like P.T. Barnum, Bonanno: A Godfather’s Story and Armistead Maupin’s More Tales of the City, which received multiple Emmy nominations. The Toronto International Film Festival used a tweet to say Tierney was “one of the greatest champions of Canadian and Québécois cinema.”  Telefilm Canada tweeted: “His films touched us all and will live on as a part of Canadian culture.” The news of his passing on May 12 was announced on social media by his son Jacob Tierney, also a filmmaker. Kevin Tierney was 67 when he died of cancer, which had been diagnosed three years earlier.

The very next day, May 13, came word that Margot Kidder had died. Known for her costarring roles in films like Superman, The Amityville Horror and Black Christmas, we adapted an existing Northernstars biography, which was republished on May 14. Kidder was 69 when she died. When the announcement was first made no reason for her death was given, but later it was revealed that her death was, sadly, the result of suicide by overdose. She had battled her personal demons for years and it seemed she had finally succeeded in keeping them at bay, but it was not to be.

Allyn Ann McLerie, actress,
Allyn Ann McLerie on the left as Azuri in this publicity still for the 1953v feature The Desert Song.
The Canadian-born American actress, singer, and dancer Allyn Ann McLerie was 91 when she died on May 21. She was born December 1, 1926 in Grand-Mère, Québec and had been a child performer in New York before she made her way to Broadway, costarring on stage when she was 21 with the legendary Ray Bolger in the play Where’s Charley? They reprised their roles when the play was turned into a movie released in 1952. She also had roles in the 1969 dance-marathon movie They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? and on television comedies like The Tony Randall Show, where she played the character of Miss Reubner, the caustically hilarious assistant to Mr. Randall’s Judge Franklin. She also had a memorable supporting role playing Florence Bickford in 59 episodes of The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd, which aired on both NBC and Lifetime. In all almost 80 credits for her work on the big screen and television. McLerie died at her daughter’s home in North Bend, Washington due to Alzheimer’s disease.

Born in 1950, Nick Michaels, like many people I know, myself included, started in radio while still in high school. He was a copywriter in Montreal before moving to Toronto in 1973, where he became one of the top commercial voice-over announcers in the country. Like many other Canadians with special voice talents, Michaels moved to New York City in 1977. It is thought his voice was behind over a billion dollars of paid radio and television advertising campaigns. Michaels moved to Miami, Florida in 1980, where he continued to work as a commercial voice and narrator, particularly on the National Geographic Explorer series. He also produced and syndicated the radio program The Deep End with Nick Michaels that was carried on many U.S. radio stations. Nick Michaels died of a heart attack at his home on May 26.

The month ended when news of the passing of Québec actor Gabriel Gascon reached us. He began his career as a puppeteer, but soon joined the Companions of Saint-Laurent which was started by Father Émile Legault. In 1951, he participated in the very first show of the Théâtre du Nouveau Monde, which was founded by his brother Jean. In 1965 he moved to France where he lived and worked until early 1980 when he returned to Québec. Gabriel Gascon was 91 when he died on May 30th. There was a tribute to his memory held on the stage of the Théâtre du Nouveau Monde on Monday, June 11th.

There was a moment when we thought we might get through June with no sad news to report but then almost at the very end of the month came reports of the passing of three actors on three days, June 26, 27 and 28. Daniel Pilon had landed some fairly nice roles south of the border particularly in daytime soaps. His first role was as Gavin Newirth on Days of Our Lives. He was a regular on Dallas in 1984 and 1985 and he played the role of Max Dubujak on Ryan’s Hope between 1983 and 1986. He also worked on the series Guiding Light. His first movie role was in Quebec director Gilles Carle’s 1968 drama Le Viol d’une Jeune Fille Douce (The Rape of a Sweet Girl), where Pilon and his elder brother, Donald, played two of the heroine’s three brothers. But most of his work was for the small screen including guest appearances, made-for-TV movies and mini-series. Daniel Pilon was 77 when he died in Montreal on June 26 following a long illness.

He’s not so well known in Canada, despite being born here, but director Steven Hilliard Stern carved out a pretty good career in Hollywood. He was born in Timmins, Ontario on November 1, 1937. He received his degree from Ryerson University and served in the Canadian Infantry before beginning his show business career as a writer and director of radio and television commercials. Before moving to Los Angeles in the 1960s he worked for the CBC. In L.A. he landed a job as a writer with the ABC television variety show The Hollywood Palace. At MGM Studios he directed commercials then went on to directing movies for theatrical release and for television. He directed over sixty motion pictures and mini-series many of which he had also produced and/or written. The bulk of his work was making made-for-TV movies, both in the United States and Canada. Stern was responsible for giving Tom Hanks, Kim Basinger and Keanu Reeves their first leading roles. Steven Hilliard Stern died on June 27, 2018, in Encino, California. He was 80.

On June 28 we learned of the passing of actor Denis Akiyama. Born in Toronto in 1952, Denis Van Akiyama was a stage and screen actor as well as a voiceover artist and musician. On the small screen he was best known for providing the voice of Iceman/Bobby Drake, Silver Samurai and Sunfire in X-Men: The Animated Series and providing the English voice of Malachite in the dubbed version of Sailor Moon. It is safe to say his largest audience came when he was cast to play Shinji, the laser-whip wielding Yakuza villain of Keanu Reeves’ character in the dystopian thriller Johnny Mnemonic. Denis Akiyama was 66 when he died of cancer on June 28.

Kim Renders was born January 14, 1955. She graduated from the University of Ottawa in 1977 with a B.A. in Drama. She worked as a writer, director, designer and actor in theatres across Canada for more than thirty years and was a founding member of Canada’s oldest professional feminist theatre company, Nightwood Theatre and was part of the original brat pack that formed The Theatre Centre in Toronto. She taught theatre courses at the University of Guelph, and the University of Waterloo. In 2006 she joined the faculty in the Drama Department at Queen’s University. Kim Renders was a member of Canadian Actor’s Equity Association, ACTRA, Playwrights Guild of Canada, Theatre Ontario, and the Theatre Ontario Talent Bank. In 1995 she was awarded an Honorary Membership by the Association for Canadian Theatre Research in recognition of distinguished service to theatre in Canada. Kim Renders was 63 when she died in Kingston, Ontario on July 17, 2018.

Film producer Harry Gulkin is usually remembered for working with Anthony Bedrich to bring Ted Allan’s adaptation of his short story Lies My Father Told Me to the screen. Directed by Ján Kadár, the feature is about a boy’s relationship with his Orthodox Jewish grandfather in 1920s Montreal. It won

Harry Gulkin, producer
Harry Gulkin is pictured at the 28th Annual Genie Awards with his Special Award.
a best foreign film Golden Globe, picked up a screenplay Oscar nomination, and took the Etrog (Canada’s pre-Genie award) for top movie of 1976. Gulkin moved into a different role in 1987 working at the Quebec film funding agency SODEC. He came back into the limelight with the release of Sarah Polley’s touching family documentary about her life, her family, and how she discovered that her biological father was Harry Gulkin. When I first watched Stories We Tell in 2012, I remembered a brief moment from four years earlier at the 2008 Genie Awards. I was there representing Northernstars as a photographer. Harry Gulkin was there to receive a special Genie Award and Sarah Polly was there to support her feature directorial debut Away From Her, which won seven Genie Awards including Best Picture. I wondered if she knew then that she was Gulkin’s daughter. He must have known. Harry Gulkin was 90 when he died in Montreal on July 23.

Rick Genest was primarily known for his unique head-to-toe body art. Known as Zombie Boy, Genest reached international fame on fashion runways and in a Lady Gaga video. He grew up poor in Montreal and was a squeegee kid. He became part of a community of punks and artists living in the Fattal lofts in the city’s St-Henri neighbourhood. He got his first tattoo at 16 and went on to eventually cover more than 90 per cent of his body in ink, including the image of a skull over his face. According to his representatives at the time, Genest was struggling with mental health problems and took his own life on August 1st. He was just 32.

Actor Albert Millaire was born in Montreal on January 18, 1935. He studied at the Conservatoire d’art dramatique du Québec as well as in Paris and London. His professional career began when he was at 20, taking on such major roles such as Figaro, Hamlet and Vladimir in Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot. In the late 1950s, he was recruited by the fledgling television industry to act on the small screen and wenty on to appear in miore than a dozen Radio-Canada television dramas, including Othello, Phèdre and Cyrano de Bergerac. He became the resident actor at the Théâtre du Nouveau Monde (TNM) and to direct the Théâtre populaire du Québec, the Théâtre du bois de Coulonge in Quebec City and the Théâtre de Repentigny. He spent five seasons acting and directing at Stratford in the 1990s. He received the Victor Morin Prize for the Performing Arts of the St-Jean-Baptiste Society of Montreal in 1983; was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1989 and a Companion in 2001, as well as Knight of the National Order of Quebec in 1995. Diagnosed with cancer in 2000, he continued to work and in 2010 he published Mes amours de personnages, in which he reflected on his life as an actor and the 50 great characters he played in theatre, television and cinema. He died in Montreal on August 15.

Gilles Pelletier was a stage actor also known for his roles in such iconic Denys Arcand films as Jesus of Montreal and The Barbarian Invasions. Born in Saint-Jovite, Québec on March 22, 1925 he was first attracted to the sea and had ambitions to become a sailor. In his mid-teens he actually served aboard a ship that carried wood from from Gaspé to Trois-Rivières. During WWII he joined the Free French Forces and did an internship at a naval school in England. Back home a year later, his sister Denise had started her career. In his own words, translated from an original French interview, Gilles Pelletier described how he got into acting: “One day, Denise told me, ‘We are looking for an actor to play a role. Gilles, you should go there. You have nothing to do.’ It’s true that I had nothing to do. I went…and that’s how my acting career began.” He made his debut in 1945 with Pierre Dagenais’s company L’Équipe in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Not confined to Québec nor Canada, between 1962 and 1964, he travelled to France for the series Chevalier Tempête and Les Compagnons de Jéhu, based on a work by Alexandre Dumas. In 1966, he appeared on Broadway with Geraldine Page in the comedy P.S. I Love You. In 1964, with Françoise Graton and Georges Groulx, he founded the Nouvelle compagnie théâtrale (NCT). He left the NCT in 1982. It was renamed in the Théatre Denise-Pelletier in 1998. Pelletier was given the Victor-Morin Prize (1970); Officer of the Order of Canada (1989); Governor General’s Award (1991); Officer of the National Order of Quebec (1993); Denise-Pelletier Award (1998). Gilles Pelletier was 93 when he died in Montreal on September 5.

Peter Donat was 90 when he died at his home in Point Reyes Station, California. Perre Collingwood Donat, better known simply as Peter Donat was the nephew of British actor Robert Donat, who won an Academy Award for his lead role in Goodbye Mr. Chips. Born in Nova Scotia, Donat moved to the United States in 1950 and studied drama at Yale. He began his career on stage when he was 23-years-old and made his Broadway debut in 1953 in Highlights of the Empire. Donat first performed at Ontario`s Stratford Shakespearean Festival appearing in The Winter’s Tale in 1958 and would return regularly over the next seven years. Born in Kentville, Nova Scotia, Peter Donat was 90 when he died from complications of diabetes on September 10.
Karyn Dwyer, actress,
I was introduced to Karyn Dwyer by a mutual friend, the actor Barry Lavender. I had invited Barry to join me at the Cabbagetown Film Festival in 2016 and Karyn was also there. We chatted a little. She seemed interested in my camera and I explained that I had taken hundreds of photos over the previous decade of people working in the Canadian film and television industries. I said I would love to photograph her if she had the time and we exchanged email addresses. A few months later she sent a quick note saying “Thanks for including me on Northernstars when I was first starting out.” I followed up some time later and received a quick reply. After a few kind remarks about our friend Barry, she wrote, “I’m not up for a photo shoot at this time. Maybe some day in the future if you don’t have your hands too full with your new grandchild. Thanks for getting back to me.” Born in Corner Brook, Newfoundland, Karyn was 10 when she began her career playing the title character in a theatrical production of Alice in Wonderland. She later studied theater at Toronto’s George Brown College and landed her first film role acting opposite David Cronenberg in the cult classic Boozecan. She is best known for playing 19-year-old Maggie in Better Than Chocolate, which opened to rave reviews at both The Berlin Film Festival and the Vancouver International Film Festival. Karyn Dwyer was 43 when she reportedly took her own life in Toronto on September 25.

Mercifully there was nothing to report in October, but then there were seven deaths in November.

On November 8th, documentary filmmaker Milan Pual Chvostek passed away. Born October 4, 1932 he was a producer/director at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. He worked on A Case for the Court, The Lively Arts, This Hour Has Seven Days, Science Magazine and the CBC’s flagship show The Nature of Things, hosted by David Suzuki. Awards for programs he worked on include one from the Monte Carlo Television Festival awarded by Prince Rainier III in 1975, and the Bell Northern Research Communications Award for science programming from the Canadian Science Writers’ Association. He was 86 when he died in Toronto.

François N. Macerola joined the NFB in 1971 as an administrative assistant to the Director of French Program. In 1974, he became head of the Film Board’s commercial service and then, two years later, was named Director of French Program. In 1979, Macerola was appointed Deputy Government Film Commissioner and Director General of the NFB, serving alongside then-NFB Commissioner and Board Chair James de Beaujeu Domville. In 1984, Mr. Macerola succeeded him, becoming the NFB’s 11th Commissioner, a post he held until 1988. Claude Joli-Coeur, the current Government Film Commissioner and Chairperson of the NFB, wrote in part, that Macerola “had a clear and forward-looking vision of the crucial role played by public institutions in helping Quebec and Canadian culture flourish.” François Marcerola was 76 when he died on November 8th.

I first met announcer, narrator and commercial voice-over actor Fred Napoli shortly after joining the staff of CFRB radio in Toronto in 1969. He did the all-night show on the sister station, CKFM-FM. Because of the difference in our hours it took some time before we connected. Another staff member suggested I give him a listen. I liked what I heard, a deep, sincere voice, punctuating the music with his reading of a poem, or short story. I was a struggling writer looking forward to the publication of my first collection of poetry, so it seemed like we were kindred spirits. CKFM wasn’t his first station and announcing wasn’t his first job. He told me once that he had had something like 20 or 30 jobs before landing at CJOY radio in Guelph, Ontario and was on the air for the first time on September 20, 1960. His career would span more than fifty years. We became close friends and he was my Best Man when I married in 1980 in Montreal. I was lured back to CFRB in 1985 and one of the first things I did was offer Fred a small, but important position. He stayed at the station longer than I did and spent seven years building a large and loyal following, which is what I knew he would do when I hired him. Fred’s career had taken him, at one time or another from CHML in Hamilton, Ontario, his home town, to CHOW in Welland, Ontario, then CHFI and CKEY-AM in Toronto. Following an earlier stint at CKFM-FM, he finally returned there in 1967 and that’s how I came to meet him a few years later. In addition to his work as one of the top commercial voices in Canada, Fred Napoli was credited as the narrator on more than 400 documentaries, many produced for TV Ontario and the National Film Board. I was honoured when he asked me to write the Preface to his only collection of stories, which he titled Reinventing Myself, something he had done over and over throughout his life. I learned after his passing that he had moved east and possibly lived or spent time in Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia. Fred Napoli was 82 when he died in Nova Scotia on November 9.

Speaking of voices, he will always be remembered as the voice of the HAL 9000 computer in 2001: A Space Odyssey, but there was so much more to the life and career of actor Douglas Rain who died on November 11. He was 90 when he died of natural causes at St. Marys Memorial Hospital in St. Marys, Ontario. We reported on his passing the next day in a detailed article which you can read by clicking here.

Wayne Maunder was known for a small handful of roles that include his starring role in the TV series, Custer and for playing the role of Cavanaugh in the Canadian hit Porky’s. Born in New Brunswick, Wayne Maunder always thought of Bangor, Maine as his hometown. He had moved to the state when he was just four-years-old and grew up there. He was 80 when he died of cardiovascular disease on November 11 in Brattleboro, Vermont.

Canadian singer and actor Ed Evanko was born in Winnipeg on October 19, 1938. He showed a special talent for music, winning the first of many trophies in the Manitoba Music Competition Festival when he was 13. He earned a BA from the University of Manitoba, majoring in English and in 1961 he began training at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. He also sang with the English Opera Group and the Welsh National Opera. He returned to Winnipeg in 1967, where he landed his own television show. He went on to act in American TV shows, including Ryan’s Hope, Chicago Hope, and Third Rock from the Sun. He appeared on Broadway in Canterbury Tales and Rex. His Broadway debut gained him a Theatre World Award, a New Jersey Drama Critics Award and a Los Angeles Ovation Award nomination. In 2001 he turned away from showbiz and began the long journey to become a priest and was ordained as a Ukrainian Catholic priest in the Archeparchy of Winnipeg in 2005. On October 21, 2016 he suffered a massive stroke. Ed Evanko was 80 when he died on November 18.

Also on November 18 came the news that Background actor Allen Zarnett had died. We have very little information about him but know he was 61 when he died of natural causes.
Remembering Galt McDermot, image,
As the year began to wind down, we learned of the passing of the man who gave a generation a soundtrack they can still sing to this day. Montreal-born Galt MacDermot was in his 30s when he moved to New York and met lyricists Gerome Ragni and James Rado. He went to work setting their words to his music, eventually creating Hair. Before exploding across the world it opened off-Broadway in 1967. The timing was perfect and the “peace generation” embraced the play’s message. Who cannot sing, or at least accurately hum the tunes of Age of Aquarius, or The Flesh Failures…subtitled Let the Sunshine In? Most people think that Hair was the composer’s only hit but in 1971, MacDermot wrote the music for the rock musical Two Gentlemen of Verona, based on the Shakespeare comedy with lyrics by John Guare. It won two Tonys in 1972, beating out Grease and Follies for Best Musical. Born December 18th, 1928 in Montreal, MacDermot received his bachelor’s degree in music from South Africa’s Cape Town University. In addition to his two biggest works, he wrote the music for the rock musical Via Galactica and for Isabel’s a Jezebel, a British musical based loosely on one of the Grimm’s Fairy Tales. He also wrote the music for The Human Comedy based on the book by William Saroyan. The off-Broadway production opened on December 28, 1983 at Joseph Papp’s Public Theater and ran for 79 performances. He also wrote music for the off-Broadway revue Time and the Wind. Galt MacDermot was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2009 and received the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010. Arthur Terence Galt MacDermot died at his home on Staten Island, New York on December 17, one day before his 90th birthday.

Michael McClear died on Christmas Day. He had been ill for a number of years before his passing. He was a broadcast journalist, war correspondent, and independent filmmaker. McClear, was the CBC’s first Far East correspondent, reporting extensively from South Vietnam and, as CBC’s London correspondent, was the only Western network journalist permitted to film in North Vietnam. McClear was also CTV’s first foreign correspondent, based in London. After leaving CTV, McClear worked for 35 years as an independent writer-producer. During that time, he produced the definitive documentary Vietnam: The Ten Thousand Day War, a 26-part television series. McClear also wrote a book with the same title. In 2013 he was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 16th Annual Canadian Journalism Foundation Awards. Writing two days after McClear died, Peter Mansbridge said, in part, this about the former CBC correspondent: ”He spent a lifetime standing for great journalism, great storytelling and always for the truth. We can and should pay attention to his legacy now more than ever.” Michael McClear was 89 when he passed away in Toronto on December 25.

Looking back at the people who died in 2018, I cannot help but think of the several hundreds of hours of entertainment they left behind. For most of us it will be the only way we can remember them. But for others there will be personal memories, broken connections, gaps in the fabric of who we are that will take time to be repaired.

If there is someone in the Canadian film or television industries that we missed, or some error in the information that we published, please click on the Contact option to send us a message.

Northernstars logo imageRalph Lucas is the Founder and Publisher of Northernstars.ca. He began writing about film while in radio in Montreal in the mid-1970s.