Edmonton-based Film Producer/Broadcaster ‘Fil’ Fraser Dies at 86

Courtesy of The Alberta Order of Excellence

Fraser was cited as Canada’s first black broadcaster when he was inducted into the Order of Canada in 1991.

Fil Fraser, who worked as a broadcaster, writer, radio, TV and film producer over five decades, died on Sunday of unspecified causes. He was 86 years old.

“Fil Fraser was a great Albertan whose storied career made him a national treasure and a living legend,” Michael Jorgensen, board chair of the Alberta Media Production Industries Association, said in a statement Monday.

Fraser’s son, Dave Dutton-Fraser, on his Twitter account late Sunday praised his late father: “He was a great man who taught me many things. I can not and will not even try to express my sorrow, but will leave you these links so you can understand it is not my loss alone.”

Born Felix Fraser in Montreal’s East End in August 1932, the Canadian media pioneer cut his teeth in high school radio before in 1951 joining radio station CKFH in Toronto, then run by Foster Hewitt, best known for his play-by-play calls for Hockey Night in Canada.

Legend has it, Hewitt handed Fraser a script and told him to read it. Five minutes later, Fraser was hired to do the night shift. He went on to work at radio stations in Timmins and Barrie, Ontario, and in Verdun and Montreal in Quebec.

Fraser launched the Regina Weekly Mirror newspaper in 1960, and in 1969 became program director and senior producer for Canada’s first educational TV station, the Metropolitan Edmonton Educational Television Association, the forerunner of Alberta’s ACCESS Network.

From there, Fraser moved in 1971 to the CBC TV station CBXT-TV in Edmonton, where he co-anchored the local supper hour news program from 1971 to 1973, before hosting ITV Television’s Fil Fraser Show. Besides doing radio and TV work in Edmonton during the 1970s, Fraser also ran his own indie production company.

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  1. I always wanted to be like Fil when I grew up. The perfect gentle man, a man with quiet strength and serene dignity was some role model. His creativity and intellect ranged from writer, producer, right up to the senior Executive Chairs. His credits are endless. The Banff International Television Festival would not be without his vision. The great Canadian Writer W. O. Mitchell’s works would not have become a major films without his talents. We co-authored a movie script together. Its still unmade, but I’m inspired to dust it off and pitch it again. At ITV Edmonton he produced and hosted the Fil Fraser show in my term as CEO. We have lost a wise pioneer, but his legacy grows as his influence and achievments have left a big imprint on many hearts and minds accross Canada, including a long stint in Toronto as CEO of Vision TV. Some people told him “It Cannot be done!” Fil Fraser always proved such prophecies were wrong.


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