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Brian Linehan
Born September 3, 1944(1944-09-03)
Hamilton, Ontario
Died June 4, 2004 (aged 59)
Toronto, Ontario
Known for host of City Lights

Brian Richard Linehan (September 3, 1944 – June 4, 2004) was a Canadian television host who hailed from Hamilton, Ontario. Linehan was best known for his celebrity interviews. Linehan was one of seven children. His estranged Irish father, Les, worked at one of the local steel mills, Dofasco and his Serbian mother, Sava (née Kotur), was later remarried to a post World War II Serb immigrant, Jovan Rodic Sr. He too, was a steel worker.

Linehan was renowned for his composure, interview skills and meticulous research, often leading to in-depth questions that could last for minutes. His guests often responded to his questions with astonishment saying, "How did you know that?" His interviewing style was parodied on SCTV by Martin Short, as "Brock Linehan".

He was first the host of City Lights, a program produced by CityTV in Toronto, and syndicated throughout Canada and the United States, running from 1973 to 1989.

After taking time off, he spent the early 1990s doing publicity interviews in Hollywood. In the late 1990s he hosted a second show entitled Linehan, which was produced for CHCH-TV in Hamilton, Ontario. He was also a long-time entertainment reporter on CFRB radio.

Linehan was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2001 and died in 2004.

Excerpts from a September 2007 article in Ryerson Review of Journalism include the following:

"Linehan had a flair for attentive, easy colloquy that extended beyond celebrities. At a memorial for Linehan at Toronto’s Winter Garden Theatre, actress Sharon Gless told a touching story about something that happened after a dinner with Linehan. “I walked him over to Al, my driver, who’s here tonight. And I said, ‘Brian, I’d like you to meet Al. Al, this is Brian Linehan.’ And they talked for a while, and apparently had a lovely talk, and I was just watching. We got in the car and Al stopped talking. I said, ‘Are you okay?’ He said ‘Yeah.’ I said, ‘What’s wrong?’ He said, ‘I have never met a man before who looked me in the eye like that. I have never met a man before who really was interested in everything that I said. He actually let me finish all my sentences before interrupting,’ like people tend to do, you know? And he had tears in his eyes.”

Another touching story involved Linehan befriending a flight attendant on one of his Air Canada jaunts. He saw her occasionally when travelling, and they kept in touch. When he later discovered that she had breast cancer, he tracked her down, and went to visit her at the hospital.

Brian Linehan's ashes were scattered outside the Toronto home he had shared with a long-time partner, Zane Wagner, who had committed suicide two years before. He left his estate to the Brian Linehan Charitable Foundation, which attempts to raise the profile of Canadian talent and supports the creation of a Canadian star system.

Further reading

  • George Anthony (September 2007). Starring Brian Linehan: A Life Behind the Scenes. McClelland & Stewart. ISBN 978-0-7710-0757-6.  

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