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Baby, The Rain Must Fall: Remembering Glenn Yarbrough

The singer Glenn Yarbrough died in August at the age of eighty-six after suffering from dementia for years. His voice and his songs were such a pivotal influence on my adolescence, I can’t imagine how I missed the news of

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How I Didn’t Host Canada AM and Saved Canadian Television

No sooner had I escaped the clutches of the Toronto Star than a producer at Canada AM, the CTV network’s long-running version of America’s Today Show, phoned to ask if I would be interested in becoming one of the hosts.

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Cannes, El Sid, and Six Green Beans

Every year about this time I think of Cannes, El Sid, and six green beans. El Sid was my nick-name for Sid Adilman, the legendary Toronto Star entertainment reporter. For years in May, El Sid and I would head for the

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Don Francks: A Star Was Born Again, and Again–and Again

When I finally met Don Francks it was on the set of a movie I wrote titled First Degree. Not that I had much influence, but as one of the producers, I lobbied hard to cast Don in the role

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Hello Sweetheart…Get Me Val Sears

Hello, sweetheart. Yeah, get me rewrite will you? One of the giants has fallen, Val Sears, a newspaper legend out of a time of newspaper legends. Whaddya mean you don’t know who Val Sears is. Val wrote features and covered

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I Should Have Known Better: The Wildly Improbable Story of Heavenly Bodies

Last weekend, at the Canadian Film Centre’s annual barbecue in Toronto, I ran into a couple of old friends who, although they didn’t realize it, were unique among the more than two thousand industry types flowing through the old E.P.

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Shooting The Wounded

Critics, it is said, come down from the hills after the battle is over and shoot the wounded. For the better part of the 1980s, I shot the wounded as the movie critic for The Toronto Star, Canada’s largest circulation newspaper. Even

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The White Buffalo Are Gone

Last week, some of his old colleagues and friends gathered to say good-bye to Ron Haggart, one of the few remaining legends of Canadian journalism. Ron wrote a city hall column for the old Toronto Telegram, The Toronto Star, and The Globe and

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“What The Hell Are You Doing Here?”

Every year as the Toronto International Film Festival gets under way, I think of Loving Couples. That’s Loving Couples, the romantic comedy starring Shirley MacLaine, Susan Sarandon, and James Coburn. You may be forgiven if you don’t readily recall it.

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Remembering Brian Vallée

The digital readout on the phone said: “Vallée B.” In addition to everything else he’d accomplished, I told him, he had become a rap artist. He liked that idea. When he called, I knew it was time for my daily

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