Maclear made several wartime visits to North Vietnam (1969-1970-1972) for CBC and later for CTV, the first Western TV correspondent granted admission to the North. In 1963 as CBC's Far East correspondent based in Japan he married Yoko (Mariko) Koide, a news researcher whose contacts with the newsfilm agency Nihon Denpa News and its Hanoi bureau made possible a series of exclusive reports also aired by CBS, NBC and syndicated by The New York Times. Subsequently, Yoko's contacts were key to obtaining Hanoi's military archives for the 13- hour television history "Vietnam: The 10,000 Day War," which Maclear independently produced in 1980.
He has received numerous awards, including an ACTRA Award for Best Broadcaster, three Gemini Awards, and the Canadian Film and Television Producers Association's Personal Achievement Award. In 2004, he won the "Outstanding Achievement Award" at Hot Docs, an annual documentary film festival held in Toronto, Ontario, where he was also honoured with a 13-film retrospective.
His daughter, Kyo Maclear, wrote the novel The Letter Opener, published in Canada by Harper Collins in 2007. Michael Maclear has two grandsons, Yoshia and Mika.