Pop Goes The News – Tributes are pouring in for Jay Switzer, the Canadian broadcasting veteran who died Monday after a battle with brain cancer. He was 61.
No one is feeling the loss more than Switzer’s wife, Canadian actress Ellen Dubin. Early Tuesday, she wrote a single word on Facebook to describe what she is feeling: “Agony!!!”
Less than a year ago, Dubin mourned the loss of her beloved father Carl. Only weeks later, she learned of the sudden death of her friend (and Boeing Boeing co-star) Cara Leslie.
Last August, Dubin described Switzer’s cancer diagnosis as “the biggest challenge of my life.”
Broadcast industry insiders are publicly sharing their memories and thoughts of Switzer.
“He was a kind gentle man in an industry that is anything but kind and gentle,” tweeted comedian Maggie Cassella, who had a talk show on City.
Ed the Sock (aka Steven Kerzner) tweeted: “Without this man, I would have never been able to do & say all the things you loved me doing & saying. A kind, warm & inspiring leader & a very sweet, decent man.”
“A nicer, more encouraging man I have never met,” shared Sportsnet president Scott Moore. “Always had a kind word and a positive attitude every time I saw him.”
At production company Shaftesbury, where Switzer was a board member, he is being remembered as “a true visionary whose boundless enthusiasm for and commitment to promoting Canadian stories and talent have helped to shape our cultural identity.”
Slawko Klymkiw, CEO of the Canadian Film Centre, described Switzer as “a visionary leader and a tireless champion of Canadian television.”
“He was just such a kind and generous man,” remembered director Holly Dale. “A good friend and one of the most generous supporters of the film and television community that there was.”
Moses Znaimer, who co-founded City with Switzer’s mother Phyllis, shared on Twitter: “We worked together a long time and achieved many great things. In our different ways, we both loved TV.”
Switzer’s first job in the television industry was, at 16, working the switchboard at City. After earning an MBA from the University of Western Ontario, he returned to City to work as program manager. By 2002, he was CEO of parent company CHUM Limited, whose stable of stations included MuchMusic.
In 2010, Switzer co-founded the Hollywood Suite specialty channels.
Throughout his career, Switzer earned several awards, including the Queen’s Jubilee Medal in 2002. He was made a Member of the Order of Canada last month in a ceremony at his hospital bedside.
Switzer’s funeral is scheduled for Feb. 4 at Benjamin’s Park Memorial Chapel in Toronto. He will be laid to rest in Pardes Shalom Cemetery in Richmond Hill.
In addition to Dubin, Switzer is survived by sisters Chiara and Sharon.
“Missing your sage advice and loving support already,” Sharon wrote on Facebook.