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Toronto Film Fest Founder and Producer Bill Marshall Dies at 77

Variety logo Variety 1/1/2017 Pat Saperstein
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Bill Marshall, who co-founded the Toronto International Film Festival in 1976, died Sunday in Toronto. He was 77.

The festival and his family reported that he died of cardiac arrest while in the hospital.

He was also a film producer, producing the noted Canadian film “Outrageous!” and 12 other feature films, as well as many documentaries. He also produced live theater productions such as the Toronto production of “Hair.”

In a statement, the festival said, “We are deeply saddened by the passing of our friend and TIFF Chair Emeritus Bill Marshall.

“Founder of the Festival of Festivals in 1976 (along with Co-Founders Henk Van der Kolk and Dusty Cohl), Bill was also the organization’s Director in its first three years. He was a pioneer in the Canadian film industry and his vision of creating a public Festival that would bring the world to Toronto through the transformative power of cinema stands today as one of his most significant legacies.

“Without his tenacity and dedication, the Toronto International Film Festival would not be among the most influential public cultural festivals today.”

Marshall moved to Canada from Glasgow, Scotland in 1955. He served as campaign manager and chief of staff for three different Toronto mayors and an advisor to Canadian politicians.

In addition to TIFF, he helped establish the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television, The Toronto Film and Television Office, and he was past president of the Canadian Association of Motion Picture Producers.

He is survived by his wife Sari Ruda, his children Lee, Stephen and Shelagh, and six grandchildren.

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