RIP: Stuart McLean 1948 - 2017

Stuart McLean in Prince George to celebrate the city's 100th birthday in 2015
Stuart McLean in Prince George to celebrate the city's 100th birthday in 2015

(Andrew) Stuart McLean, the Montreal-born bestselling author, humourist and, for more than 20 years, host of CBC Radio's The Vinyl Cafe, died Wednesday, February 15 at the age of 68, just over a year after a skin cancer diagnosis.

McLean suspended his radio show in December 2016 to focus on cancer treatment.

For 40 years, McLean told stories on the radio. He began his career making documentaries for CBC Radio's Sunday Morning. In 1979, he won an ACTRA award for his work on a documentary about the Jonestown massacre. McLean later joined CBC's Morningside as a columnist. He published his first book, a collection of essays from that column called The Morningside World of Stuart McLean, in 1989.

As the host of the variety show The Vinyl Cafe, McLean's storytelling talents entertained the country for over 20 years. Dave, Morley and the cast of fictional characters that populated his program were regular fixtures in Canadian homes. The show, beloved for its heart and humour, became an institution.

McLean's books of stories from The Vinyl Cafe have won the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour three times; several albums of his performances of Vinyl Cafe stories were also released. In the 2010s a spinoff edition, Vinyl Café Stories, aired on CBC Radio weekday afternoons, featuring two previously broadcast stories on interrelated themes.

McLean retired in 2004 as a professor at the School of Journalism at Ryerson University in Toronto after 30 years.

The Vinyl Cafe stopped touring and producing new episodes following McLean's diagnosis with melanoma in November 2015. On December 13, 2016, he announced that he required a second round of treatment, meaning a further delay in producing potential new radio episodes, and that repeats of past shows would stop airing on CBC Radio One effective January 2017 to "make room for others to share their work on the radio."

Stuart McLean -- The Vinyl Cafe storyteller

 


Vinyl Café: Here’s an excerpt from ‘Dave Cooks the Turkey’


CBC Radio Specials: Canada's Storyteller: A Tribute to Stuart McLean