January 4, 2017 – Bill Marshall Is Dead: Toronto Int’l Film Festival, TIFF Founder Dies Of Cardiac Arrest On New Year’s Day
41 years after its debut, the founder of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), Bill Marshall, has died at age 77 after suffering cardiac arrest, his family said through a statement on Sunday.
Describing Marshall as pioneer in the Canadian film industry, the statement, which was released through TIFF’s press office, disclosed that he died in a Toronto hospital on New Year’s day.
“In a very real way, Bill was in the business of making dreams become reality,” read the statement. “Now, as the house lights dim, friends and family will remember and honour Bill as a first rate raconteur, famous for his honesty, keen mind and wry humour.”
Marshall immigrated to Canada from Glasgow, Scotland in 1955, founded the festival in 1976 along with co-founders Henk Van der Kolk and Dusty Cohl. He has 13 different feature film credits to his name and also produced hundreds of documentaries.
TIFF began small but became one of North America’s biggest film festivals, important because it had a public audience, instead of screening to insiders.
It became known as a good place to premiere movies to the public and many filmmakers launched careers through the festival.