Tom Daly (filmmaker)

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Tom Daly
Born (1918-04-25)April 25, 1918
Died September 18, 2011(2011-09-18) (aged 93)
Occupation Producer
Film director
Years active 19401984

Tom Daly (April 25, 1918 in Toronto – September 18, 2011 in Westmount) was a Canadian film director and producer, who was the head of Studio B at the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) in the 1950s and '60s. He produced and executive produced more than 300 films over a 44-year career at the NFB.[1]

Early years[edit]

Daly learned the art of film editing from filmmaker Stuart Legg and documentary pioneer and NFB founder John Grierson, who had hired Daly in 1940 directly following his graduation from the University of Toronto. Daly was passionate about assisting in the NFB's war effort. Grierson was apparently taken with Daly’s intellect and bookish manner and brought him aboard as a production assistant, joking calling him “the best butler in the business,” an expression which would serve as the title for film scholar D.B. Jones’s book on Daly, The Best Butler in the Business: Tom Daly of the National Film Board of Canada, decades later.[2]

Studio B[edit]

As head of the NFB's Studio B unit, Daly was involved in, or responsible for, numerous milestones and achievements in both documentary and animation film art, including Cinéma vérité and Direct Cinema productions, as well as the multi-projector cinematic presentation In the Labyrinth, which eventually led to the development of IMAX. Daly was persuaded to put aside his studio responsibilities for a year and a half to edit In the Labyrinth.[1][2]

He also produced such classic works as Colin Low's Corral, Wolf Koenig and Roman Kroitor’s Lonely Boy, Koenig and Low’s City of Gold, Kroitor and Low’s Universe, Arthur Lipsett’s Very Nice, Very Nice, and Gerald Potterton’s animated short My Financial Career. Daly also served as executive producer on Candid Eye, a 14-part cinema-vérité series made between 1958 and 1961.[1][2]

Daly ran a mixed-discipline studio that included many of the most talented Canadian film-makers of the time, including an animation group with luminaries such as Norman McLaren, Don Arioli, and Robert Verrall; a documentary team including Roman Kroitor and Terence Macartney-Filgate, and with both Colin Low and Wolf Koenig working at various times in both areas.[1]

Retirement and death[edit]

He died on September 18 after a lengthy illness, at the Chateau Westmount residence in Westmount, Quebec.[3]



  1. ^ a b c d "NFB pioneer Tom Daly dies at age 93". CBC News. Canadian Press. 21 September 2011. Retrieved 22 September 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c Brownstein, Bill (5 October 2011). "Looking back on the work of Tom Daly". Vancouver Sun. Retrieved 6 October 2011. 
  3. ^ "NFB marks death of documentary pioneer Tom Daly" (Press release). Canada News Wire. 21 September 2011. Retrieved 22 September 2011. 

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