Local TV Icon Captain Jack Duffy Dies At 81

May 20, 2008

Jack Duffy, a Montreal-born actor and singer who got his start on CBC Radio, and had a long and varied career on TV and in film, has died. He was 81.

Duffy died Monday at Toronto General Hospital of natural causes.

With Dinah Christie and Billy Van, he played charades on the comedy show Party Game, made by CHCH-TV in Hamilton, Ont.

Started in 1970, the fast-paced show hosted by Bill Walker ran for 11 seasons and was syndicated throughout Canada.

He was a cast member of the Wayne and Shuster Show, starting in 1952, and went on to host his own half-hour series, Here's Duffy.

In more recent years, he did voice work in the 1983 TV series Curious George, and appeared in films such as Ghost Mom and A Holiday Romance.

Born on Sept. 27, 1926, Duffy became a studio singer with CBC Radio in Toronto at age 19.

He joined a vocal group called the Bob-O-Links that toured America for two years with Tommy Dorsey's orchestra. Duffy continued as a solo singer with Dorsey's band until 1950.

He became a regular on CBC variety shows, including The Barris Beat, Showtime and Folio. His skill as an impressionist and comic, as well as his singing voice, earned him his own series, Here's Duffy, which ran in 1958-59.

He then was recruited to U.S. variety shows and spent two years on The Perry Como Kraft Music Hall.

In addition to Party Game, Duffy also did the CBC series Upside Town and Canadian show And That's the News, Goodnight with Don Harron. He was a cast member on U.S. sketch comedy series Half the George Kirby Comedy Hour,and The Bobby Vinton Show.

Duffy kept acting through the 1980s and 1990s, with roles in films such as The Silent Partner, The Dream Team, Men with Guns and 2002's A Killing Spring.

Duffy leaves his wife and his daughter.

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