Garry Blye

My Story...

I was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba on December 31, 1944, the son of immigrants David Blye (Romania) and Goldie Portnoy (Russia).

I grew up in Winnipeg's predominantly Jewish north end and am a product of Winnipeg's Hebrew school system. I attended the Talmud Torah on Charles and Flora, and later Matheson Avenue, and continued my Hebrew education in the evenings at Maimonedes College, attending Machray and St. John's Tech for my public schooling.

Involvement in the Jewish community has been a way of life for me. My early social life was centered around the clubs at the YMHA, BBYO, USY and Abe Yanofsky's chess club. I studied theatre under the teaching of John Hirsch, and was influenced musically by my older brothers Sidney and Allan. As a result, I loved to be anywhere entertainment was involved.

In 1962, at the age of 18, I moved to California and studied at UCLA and Cal State Northridge. My first job was with the William Morris Agency where I learned the talent management business and had the opportunity to meet and work with many talented artists — including Colonel Tom Parker and Elvis Presley on the lot of MGM Studios. In 1969 I left William Morris and began my own management business in Hollywood, managing such stars as John Candy and Mama Cass Elliot. I also had the opportunity to work with my brother Allan on the Andy Williams Show and we have enjoyed working together on various projects ever since.

Early in the 1980's I came back to Canada and moved to Toronto. I have produced live television events, including the Expo '86 Gala for their Royal Highnesses Prince Charles and Princess Diana, the 1988 Calgary Olympic Gala, and numerous music, film and television award shows. I also produce youth dramas, documentaries, and factual entertainment. Because of my earlier theatre training, I am privileged to work with actors and people involved in all facets of the arts.

In 1983 I married Susan Danby Kelleher and we have three children, David Jordan Blye, born in 1984, Patrick Charles Kelleher-Blye, born in 1985, and Clara Jane Elizabeth Blye, born in 1987.

In raising my children, I have often been reminded of my childhood on Selkirk Avenue where I thought there were only Jews — it was easy, it was unrestrictive, and it was joyous to just be who you were. It has been important to me to raise my children as Jews, although it has been in an environment where it is not easy to do so. It is my hope for them, and for the children - the future - of this community, that there be joy, freedom, and pride in being who you are. That is what this city — Winnipeg - has given me.