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Film director Daryl Duke’s Emmy Award winning career spans a wide range of accomplishments in feature films, television dramas, documentaries and television specials. In a career that spanned more than half a century, Duke worked as a producer and a director, for both Canadian Television networks, for all three major U.S. networks and for most of the major studios in Hollywood.
Film and television assignments took Duke to South America, China, the countries of Southeast Asia and India, as well as the Middle East, Yugoslavia, Europe and England. His work was seen at many festivals including the famous Cannes International Festival of Film where his American movie, Payday, was an entry in the official festival category, “The Director’s Fortnight.”
Duke directed the 10-hour mini-series from the bestselling book The Thorn Birds. This series ranks among the most watched television dramas in the United States and Canada and continues to be broadcast around the world. For his work on this series, Duke received Emmy and Director’s Guild of America nominations.
Duke was honoured with an Emmy for his direction of “The Day the Lion Died,” an episode of The Senator television series for NBC. His production of I Heard The Owl Call My Name, a 90-minute drama for CBS and filmed on the west coast of Vancouver Island, earned Duke a Christopher Award.
Duke also received a National Society of Film Critics Special Award for his feature film Payday and the Canadian Film Awards (now call the Genies) Best Director and Best Picture Awards for the film The Silent Partner.
A native of Canada and a graduate of the University of British Columbia, Duke began his career as a film editor, writer and director for the National Film Board of Canada, internationally recognized for its excellence in film.
Duke originated the first television show from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s (CBC) station in Vancouver, CBUT, which went on the air in the early 1950s. While at the Vancouver studios of the CBC, Duke produced and directed variety programs, a classical music series, dramas and public affairs documentaries for both west coast audiences and the CBC network.
As Executive Producer and Director of the CBC series Quest, Duke’s productions included documentaries, music and comedy shows and documentary programming. The Toronto Star newspaper named Duke “Entertainment Star of the Year” for his work on the series.
In the United States, Duke produced The Steve Allen Show for the Westinghouse Broadcasting Company in Hollywood, and later the Les Crane Show in New York for the ABC television network. He also served as executive producer for the prime time CBS series Sunday.
In the mid-1970s, Daryl Duke founded and launched the independent television station CKVU-TV in Vancouver, Canada. He was its first President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board.
Duke has written many articles and essays on culture and media for The Globe and Mail, The Canadian Forum, The Georgia Strait, The London Free Press and The Vancouver Sun.
In 1997, Duke was inducted into “Starwalk” and the B.C. Entertainment Hall of Fame. In 1999, Duke was the first recipient of the “Outstanding Achievement Award for an Individual” at the Leo Awards. Duke was also member of the Board of Directors of BC Film, as well as a member of the Steering Committee of The Friends of Canadian Broadcasting.
In the fall of 2000, Duke was inducted into the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ Broadcasters Hall of Fame, and in October 2003, Daryl Duke was honoured by the Director’s Guild of Canada with a Lifetime Achievement Award recognizing more than a half-century of creative work in Canadian and international productions. In June 2004, Duke received the Doctor of Fine Arts honoris causa from Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia.
Daryl Duke died in West Vancouver, British Columbia on October 21, 2006 due to pulmonary fibrosis.