John Morgan

John Morgan, writer, actor (b at Aberdare, Wales 21 Sept 1930; d at Toronto 15 Nov 2004).

Morgan, John
Some of John Morgan's most memorable Air Farce characters were the idiot savant Mike from Canmore, the kilt-wearing, stoutly opinionated Jock McBile,and the Prophet on the Mount (courtesy Rodney Daw, Air Farce Productions Inc)

John Morgan

John Morgan, writer, actor (b at Aberdare, Wales 21 Sept 1930; d at Toronto 15 Nov 2004). John Morgan served with the military police in the Royal Air Force age 17-19 before attending Caerleon College (now known as the University of Wales), earning a teaching certificate in English and physical education. He taught in London 1953-55 and then began working as a journalist for the Western Mail, Wales's major newspaper, which offered him a job at another of their papers, the Timmins Press in Ontario. Immigrating to Canada in 1957, Morgan lived and worked briefly in Timmins before moving on to the Chatham Daily News, and ended up at the Windsor Star. While in Windsor, he co-founded the Windsor Men's Press Club.

John Morgan moved to Montréal and became the editor of a magazine called The Montrealer, which is where he met Martin Bronstein, a fellow Brit who was an advertising copywriter and aspiring screenwriter. The two became friends and began writing comedy sketches together. They created "Funny You Should Say That!," a fast-paced revue for CBC Radio's Showcase, which was followed by a program called "Comedy Café." Returning briefly to England, Morgan and Bronstein wrote for the talk-show host David Frost. Once back in Montréal they formed and financed an improvisational stage troupe in 1970 that they called The Jest Society, in parody of Pierre TRUDEAU's Just Society.

Following a move to Toronto, rave reviews, and some cast changes, the troupe evolved into what was to become its permanent lineup in 1971: Morgan, Don FERGUSON, Roger ABBOTT and Luba GOY. In late 1973 The Jest Society along with Dave BROADFOOT morphed into the Royal Canadian Air Farce, first on CBC Radio and 20 years later on CBC-TV.

In 1998, along with the other members of the troupe, John Morgan received the GOVERNOR GENERAL'S PERFORMING ARTS AWARD. As head writer, Morgan single-handedly wrote half the scripts for every radio show and one-third of every TV episode, logging over 4000 sketches before retiring in 2001.

In 1975, John Morgan wrote for King of Kensington, the hit CBC-TV series starring Al WAXMAN. He served as a script consultant and writer for several television comedy series. He returned to his native Wales often, and for a while owned a pub there. Writing and performing in England, he also created a BBC Radio series called It's All in the Mind of John Morgan. He acknowledged that his role model was Tony Hancock, the great British comedian who was the star of his own radio show, Hancock's Half-Hour, in the 1950s.

John Morgan's most memorable Air Farce characters include the idiot savant Mike from Canmore; the kilt-wearing, stoutly opinionated Jock McBile; and the Prophet on the Mount. Over his lengthy career, John Morgan won 15 ACTRA Awards for his work writing and performing on radio and television, three GEMINI Awards for Air Farce, including the Earle Grey Lifetime Achievement Award (2000), and a Juno Award for best comedy album. The troupe became the first Canadian inductees into the International Humour Hall of Fame. Along with the other members of the Royal Canadian Air Farce troupe, John Morgan was awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree in 1993 by Brock University in St Catharines, Ont, and was inducted into Canada's Walk of Fame in 2000.


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