The Oscar-winning Canadian documentary director was 79 – deadline

Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker John Jaritsky died of a heart attack at a hospital in Vancouver last Wednesday, according to a statement from his family and friends. He was 79 years old.

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St. Catherine’s, Ontario Native won the Academy Award in 1983 Just another missing kid, A film that tells the story of a Canadian college student who goes missing while traveling in the United States and his parents’ efforts to find him. The film was originally aired on a Canadian TV series Fifth Estate.

In his 40-year career, Zaritsky also directed a documentary trilogy on the infamous drug Thalidomide, which was introduced in Europe in the late 1950s. Thousands of pregnant women prescribed thalidomide have given birth to babies with severe deformities.

“Given the responsibility of documenting the raw and fragile moments of life,” wrote his family and friends, [in] You do Really want to know?A lively actor who promised to put a last smile on Lou Gehrig’s illness [in] Let them laughAnd men face their biggest fears Men Don’t cry: the story of prostate cancerWhich he shot shortly before he discovered his diagnosis with the disease. “

The family statement added, “On such diverse and controversial issues as war, Romeo and Juliet in SarajevoAssisted suicide, Suicide TouristAnd criminals, Rapist: Can they be stopped?; The Wild Horse RedemptionTo name just a few, Jaritsky shares complex stories that most filmmakers have avoided. “

Zaritsky also directed eight episodes of the Emmy-winning PBS series Frontline Between 1987 and 2007 (one of which was Romeo and Juliet in Sarajevo) Her credits included documentaries on themes with a light tone, including Ski bumsShot at Whistler’s Ski Resort, near Jaritsky’s home in Vancouver, at BC Home. A different drummer The single “Tears Are Not Enough” recorded by Canada’s top singers for Ethiopia’s famine relief. He spotted the Royal Canadian Air Force’s Aerobatics Flight Demonstration Team Snowbirds Real stuffWith music by David Foster.

The director is said to be working on his memoirs at the time of his death. He is survived by his wife, Annie Clinton, and their family, Erin and Bern Lally, and two grandchildren.

“His greatest joy was spending time with them,” said his family, “traveling side by side, sharing stories with friends and discovering English football towards the end of his life.”

“I’m a lucky man,” Zaritsky told the hospital, according to his wife. “In his memory, he wants you to do two things,” Clinton said. Take a friend out for a beer or two and watch a locally made documentary and let your life change a bit. “

The family said the celebration of Zaritsky’s life would be held in Vancouver, Toronto and Whistler on a future date.

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