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Jack Wasserman

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Jack Wasserman
File:Jack Wasserman.jpg Jack Wasserman.jpg
Born(1927-02-17)17 February 1927[1]
Winnipeg[1]
💀Died6 April 1977(1977-04-06) (aged 50)[1]
Vancouver[1]6 April 1977(1977-04-06) (aged 50)[1]
🏳️ NationalityCanadian
💼 Occupation
journalist
covering Vancouver's seedy nightlife
👩 Spouse(s)Fran Gregory[2]

Jack Wasserman (February 27, 1927 – April 6, 1977) was a nightlife and celebrity columnist for the Vancouver Sun newspaper from 1949 until his death. He also had a program on Vancouver talk-radio station CJOR (1968).

Wasserman was born in Winnipeg on February 27, 1927.[3][4]

His column, read throughout British Columbia, largely comprised short items strung together, with the names of celebrities in boldface. He often reported things he or others overheard backstage or at political rallies. Wasserman would have some inside information on headline stories. Wasserman's interview subjects included Nina Simone, Richard Pryor, Dusty Springfield, Eric Burdon and Tommy Douglas.[5]

When printers at the Vancouver Sun declared a strike, Wasserman, anticipating a long work stoppage, approached his friend Jim Pattison, owner of radio station CJOR, for a job. Wasserman would go on the air with a three-hour talk show weekday mornings from nine until noon. His competition would be radio veteran Jack Webster. The Sun responded by firing Wasserman, and replacing him with Denny Boyd.

Wasserman brought many major celebrities to the show through his connections with local promoters and nightclub owners. His guests included Nina Simone, Richard Pryor, Dusty Springfield, Eric Burdon, and many others, including politicians such as Tommy Douglas. His ratings, however, could not beat Webster's, and in a couple of years Wasserman returned to the Sun and resumed his column, until his death. He briefly had a show named Wasserman's World on CKNW (1970).

Wasserman's society and celebrity columns (and occasional political analysis) covered the often-lurid details of the Vancouver nightlife and society scene in the 1950s and 1960s, when famous dinner clubs such as The Cave and Isy's attracted big names from around the world.

Quoting from one of his columns:

Vancouver erupted as the vaudeville capital of Canada, rivaling and finally outstripping Montreal in the East and San Francisco in the south as one of the few places where the brightest stars of the nightclub era could be glimpsed from behind a post, through a smoke-filled room, over the heads of $20 tippers at ringside. Only in Las Vegas and Miami Beach, in season, were more superstars available in nightclubs.

So profound was Wasserman's role in Vancouver's nightlife that the key blocks of Hornby Street, site of much of the action, has been officially dubbed "Wasserman's Beat."[5][6][7]

Wasserman died after collapsing during an event at the Hotel Vancouver on April 6, 1977.[3] Following his death, British Columbia premier Bill Bennett described him as a "very fair member of the media" in a speech to the BC legislature.[8]

References[edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "Jack Wasserman", Museum of Radio in British Columbia
  2. Irene Dodek (2014-11-18). "THERE'S NO BUSINESS LIKE SHOW BUSINESS! Ben Kopolow - Interviewed by Irene Dodek, November 18 & 25, 2014," (PDF). Jewish Museum and Archives of British Columbia. Retrieved 2021-01-20. In about 1961, Ken and Jack Wasserman called me into the office. Jack had married Fran Gregory and he had followed her all down the west coast. She was in musical comedy. Anyways, they called me into the office and told me that the head of AGVA - American Guild of Variety Artists union – wanted a franchise agent in Vancouver. Who could they get? And Jack and Ken said ‘The only one we could think of would be Ben Kopelow.’ Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Jack Wasserman: Vancouver columnist collapses at podium". The Globe and Mail. The Canadian Press. April 8, 1977. ProQuest 1241366298.
  4. "Jack Wasserman". City of Vancouver Archives. Retrieved 2021-01-21.
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Fred Schiffer: Lives in Photos". Jewish Museum and Archives of British Columbia. Retrieved 2021-01-20. As a newspaper columnist for The Vancouver Sun, and a radio personally, Jack Wasserman (1927-1977) reported on Vancouver nightlife, celebrity culture, and local politics. Through interviews with guests including Nina Simone, Richard Pryor, Dusty Springfield, Eric Burdon and Tommy Douglas, Wasserman shared with his audience the cultural pulse of the 1950s and 1960s. He is memorialized by “Wasserman’s Beat”, the officially renamed stretch of Hornby Street once home to The Cave nightclub, one of his regular haunts. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  6. Jessica Hardy (10 September 2018), "Jack Wasserman – The beat goes on.", MonteCristo Magazine
  7. Genevieve Michaels (2015-06-20). "New Show Gives Us a Glamorous Portrait of 1950s Vancouver". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2021-01-20. Architect Arthur Erickson and journalist Jack Wasserman are just two of the interesting people that have been captured by Schiffer's lens. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  8. "His death a loss to all B.C., Bennett says". The Vancouver Sun. April 7, 1977. p. B13. ProQuest 2241011295.

External links[edit]


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