Year Born: 1913
Year Died: 1982
Murray, George (1913-1982)
Hearing George Murray sing Danny Boy would bring tears to your eyes, said his son Craig from the fishing lodge he operated in British Columbia. But George didn’t start as a singer. When he left school in Winnipeg, where he was born, he worked for the T. Eaton Company and it wasn’t until the mid-1940s that he developed his rich tenor voice for a career in music.
George had moved to Toronto in the early 1940s and there he married Merren Kavaner. His first big radio show was on CFRB Toronto in the mid-40s. As an actor, he was a regular member of the cast of The Craigs, the folksy drama which was part of the CBC network’s daily noon-hour farm broadcast.
CBC-TV started in 1952 and George was an early recruit. He hosted variety programs, includingTalent Caravan, and sang on Cross Canada Hit Parade as well as the Saturday night show Juliette.
In the late 1950s he married the popular singer Shirley Harmer after he and Merren were divorced. He appeared with Shirley and a young Robert Goulet on their CBC-TV show Showtime. He also starred in Tom Jones, a major CBC production, and he sang throughout his career in nightclubs, as a guest on other TV shows, and as a host of celebrity marathons.
From about 1973 to 1980, he was a member of The Smile Company, which consisted of a group of talented Toronto musicians who visited old folks homes to perform for shut-ins. He was also an avid golfer and a keen fisherman.
In early 1982, with his health failing, he moved to B.C. to live with his son. He died later that year in Courtenay on Vancouver Island.
Written by Jerry Fairbridge – November, 2002