John Avery Leon Labow passed away after a brief illness in Calgary, Alberta on December 11, 2017 at the age of 75. He is survived by his children, Ted, Jennifer and Ben, and Anne Cummins, mother of his children, who he married in 1963 and with whom he shared 28 years of marriage. He was predeceased by his parents Larry and Claire, and his younger sister Reva. He was a grandfather to Liv and Leo, children of Ben and Ashley. He was an uncle to Jessica and Sean, and a brother-in-law to Paul (Orlicky), as well as a nephew and cousin to many decendants of the Halperin family.
John was born in Timmins, Ontario on November 28, 1942. He was a man of many talents and interests, including science, music, literature, film, and the dramatic arts. He sang in the coffee houses in a duo with Bram Morrison, won the Canadian Science Fair in the late 1950s, was a confirmand at Holy Blossom Temple and a graduate of Forest Hill Collegiate. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree from U of T and acted frequently on the Hart House stage. He created a notable film role playing Doug in the milestone Canadian film ‘Winter Kept Us Warm’, the first English Canadian film at Cannes.
John had an illustrious career as a documentary film maker, winning many awards. Beginning at the CBC in the early 1960s, he moved to ETV (OECA/TVO) and was a pioneer in educational television. Notable productions include The Third World, World Religions, The Africa File, The Music Room (with Gene DiNovi), The Edible Woman, The Orford String Quartet and The Middle East (with Bernard Lewis). As an independent producer, his credits include the musical specials Anne Murray in Jamaica, The Toronto Symphony in Vienna with Sir Andrew Davis, and Perry Como in the Bahamas.