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Harold Greenberg

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Harold Greenberg, film producer,

B: January 11, 1930 in Montréal, Québec
D: July 1, 1996 in Montréal, Québec

Harold Greenberg was an unpretentious businessman and highly successful film producer. He was 13 when he went to work in his uncle’s second-hand camera store. Many years later he launched his career on a seemingly endless upward path when he acquired exclusive rights to sell films on the site of EXPO 67 as well as photographic rights in the pavilions. In 1972 he moved into film production and acquired Astral Films in 1973. He was Executive Producer on titles like the 1973 feature The Neptune Factor, directed by Daniel Petrie and costarring Ben Gazzara, Walter Pidgeon, Donnelly Rhodes and Chris Wiggins. Other well received Canadian features include Breaking Point (Bob Clark, 1976), In Praise of Older Women (George Kaczender, 1978), and Porky’s (Bob Clark, 1981). In 1982 he was deputy producer for Gilles Carle’s Maria Chapdelaine. Speciality television channels began appearing in Canada in 1983. Astral purchased what was then known as First Choice Communications and changed the name to The Movie Network, which is now owned by Bell Media and operates as CRAVE. One of the requirements dictated by the CRTC was that Astral, and all license holders, give something back to the industry. No funding mechanism existed for script development, so it was Greenberg’s idea to create a fund to develop Canadian screenwriters. After his death, FUND (the Foundation to Underwrite New Drama) was renamed The Harold Greenberg Fund in his honour. Perhaps fearing a conflict of interest, the CRTC also imposed a condition of his license that he could no longer produce films. Following his success at EXPO ’67, his company had grown in many directions. He had became president of Pathé Humphries laboratories in 1968, then, as mentioned, Astral Films in 1973. His various interests were amalgamated under the name Astral Bellevue Pathé, which was shortened to Astral Communications in 1992. An absolutely vital Canadian film industry builder, he was the recipient of many honours including being named an officer of the Order of Canada, Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur, and Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Québec, Harold Greenberg was 64 when he died on Canada Day, July 1, 1996. Unless otherwise noted, we list his credits as an Executive Producer.