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Patrick Watson (producer)

Patrick Watson
CC, LLD, MA
Born (1929-12-23) December 23, 1929
Toronto, Ontario
Residence Toronto]
Nationality Canadian
Citizenship Canadian
Alma mater University of Toronto
University of Michigan
Occupation Broadcaster, writer, producer, director
Spouse(s) Caroline Furey Bamford

Patrick Watson, CC (born December 23, 1929) has been a prolific and outspoken Canadian broadcaster, television and radio interviewer and host, author, commentator, and television writer, producer, and director for five decades. Born in Toronto, Watson attended the University of Toronto and graduated with an MA. He began working on his doctorate at the University of Michigan, but withdrew in early 1956 to focus on working for CBC television.

Watson's first broadcast, in 1943, was as a radio actor in the CBC's children's dramatic series The Kootenay Kid. He first achieved national fame (and in some quarters, notoriety) as the co-producer and, with Laurier LaPierre, on-camera co-host of the CBC Television current affairs program This Hour Has Seven Days in the mid-1960s. Watson went on to write, edit, and/or produce The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau, Witness to Yesterday, and Titans. He travelled to the United States for a short stint as anchor and principal interviewer of The 51st State, a local news program televised in 1972–1973 on WNET in New York City. Watson also hosted the CBC's business program Venture when it was first launched in 1985.

In 1983 he created and performed, solo, a stage version of the Old Testament's The Book of Job, at first at the Nathan Cohen Studio in Toronto, directed by John McGreevey, and then at the National Arts Centre Theatre in Ottawa. For CBC he hosted and/or produced The Watson Report and The Canadian Establishment. He also created the Heritage Minutes, The Canadians: Biographies of a Nation and The Struggle for Democracy series; the latter has since aired in over 40 countries around the world. The Heritage Minutes were an initiative of Watson's begun in 1988 at Charles Bronfman's CRB Foundation (now The Historica Dominion Institute), and as of 2007 were receiving more than 30,000 plays a year on many television stations and cable channels throughout Canada.

Watson was Chairman of the CBC from 1989 until 1994. He was the recipient of honorary Doctor of Laws degrees from Mount Allison University in 2002 and the University of Toronto in 2004. He was invested as an Officer of the Order of Canada on October 21, 1981, then promoted to Companion on October 26, 2002. Watson continues to write, lecture, advise, and work in many capacities in broadcasting from his current home in Toronto. He is married to the Irish writer and scholar, Caroline Furey Bamford, whom he met during a documentary production in Belfast, in 1977. Watson has acted in more than 50 dramatic productions, including the movie The Terry Fox Story, and the HBO movie Countdown to Looking Glass.

Few in his various audiences realize his slight limp was caused by the amputation of his left leg above the knee in 1960 following an accident. He has often assisted the Canadian disabled community, including serving as Honorary Chair of the Canadian Amputee Sports Association and Chairman Emeritus of the Canadian Abilities Foundation.

Selected bibliography

  • Conspirators In Silence. McClelland and Stewart. 1969

External links

  • * Patrick Watson at the Internet Movie Database
  • Patrick Watson archives at the University of Toronto Media Commons
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