Jack Wasserman


CKNW on the death of Wasserman thanks to radiowest.ca 

born. Feb. 17, 1927, Winnipeg

died. April 6, 1977, Vancouver

Came to Vancouver in 1935 at age 8. Dropped out of law school to take reporter's job with Ubyssey. Graduated from UBC (1949); joined Vancouver Sun, becoming a police reporter. His biggest scoop was the sordid death of Errol Flynn in a West End apartment. Longtime gossip and self-described "saloon reporter" columnist. Fired by the Sun (1967) for hosting a radio show but rehired 18 months later.

A governor of the National Film Board. Died of a heart attack at age 50 while speaking at the Hotel Vancouver during a roast for Gordon Gibson Sr.

Legend has it that he was covering the 1951 royal visit of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip somewhere in the Interior (before their arrival in Vancouver) and, rushed for time, simply phoned in his notes. The notes were so good, the story goes, the Sun ran them verbatim. Then, starting May 12, 1954, they gave him a man-about-town column at the age of 24, and he hit his stride. His column on �the second front page� of the afternoon paper, often detailing the city's underbelly, became a hugely popular feature.

Jack Wasserman (1927-1977) was a nightlife and celebrity columnist for the Vancouver Sun newspaper. He also had a radio program on the talk-radio station CJOR (1969) and a show named Wasserman's World on CKNW (1970) and later hosted Hourglass on CBC TV

Wasserman's society and celebrity columns and occasional political analyses wrote up the often-lurid details of the wild heyday, glitter and sleaziness of the Vancouver nightlife and society whirl (and scandal) in the 1950s and 1960s when famous dinner clubs such as The Cave and Isy's attracted big names from around the world.


Quoting from one his columns, "Vancouver erupted as the vaudeville capital of Canada, rivaling and finally outstripping Montreal in the East and San Francisco in the south as one of the few places where the brightest stars of the nightclub era could be glimpsed from behind a post, through a smoke-filled room, over the heads of $20 tippers at ringside. Only in Las Vegas and Miami Beach, in season, were more superstars available in nightclubs."


So profound was Wasserman's role on the main stretch of Vancouver's nightlife that the key blocks of Hornby Street where much of the action was has since been officially dubbed "Wasserman's Beat".


Bio Notes: Jacob (Jack) Born to Simon and F. Maria Wasserman in Winnipeg.

Married to Patricia Louise Knudsen

Coroner was the legendary Glen McDonald



BC Radio History