Jack Duffy, comedian, impressionist, singer (b at Montréal 27 Sept 1926, d at Toronto 19 May 2008). Jack Duffy is best remembered as "the Captain" on the long-running game show The Party Game (1970-81), which was broadcast on CHCH-TV in Hamilton, Ont, and syndicated nationally. Duffy and his co-stars Dinah CHRISTIE and Billy Van would take on a team of celebrity guests in a weekly, fast-paced game of charades.
Duffy grew up in downtown Toronto during the Great Depression. He attended Central Technical School, but dropped out after grade 9 when his father died. He signed up with the Royal Canadian Air Force during the war years, then began his career as a singer in 1945 with CBC Radio in Toronto. By 1948 he was singing with a vocal group known as the Bob-O-Links and touring the US with the Tommy Dorsey big band. When the group disbanded, he remained with Dorsey as a solo performer until he returned to Toronto in 1950. His physical resemblance to another famous Dorsey singer earned him the moniker of "the Canadian Frank Sinatra."
A gifted comic and impressionist, Jack Duffy soon became a regular on CBC-TV, joining the cast of The Wayne and Shuster Show, which premiered in 1952. He was also a featured player on The Perry Como Kraft Music Hall (1961-63) during the height of its popularity on NBC. His other Canadian television credits include The Billy O'Connor Show (1954-56), featuring "our pet" JULIETTE in her first television appearance; The Barris Beat (1956-57), a weekly variety show directed by Norman JEWISON; Here's Duffy, his own variety series, which he hosted for 2 seasons (1958-59); In the Mood, a tribute to the big band era that he hosted from 1970-72; Half the George Kirby Comedy Hour (1972-73), a faux Canadian show shot in Toronto for the American market and featuring a young Steve Martin; The Bobby Vinton Show (1975-78); and a 30-minute crude sketch comedy show called Bizarre (1980-84), which aired on CTV, while an uncensored version was broadcast on the US cable network Showtime.
Jack Duffy spent 3 seasons with the long-running SPRING THAW and appeared regularly at the CHARLOTTETOWN SUMMER FESTIVAL in its production of Anne of Green Gables during the 1970s. He made numerous guest appearances in episodes of Canadian television over his long career, including SCTV Network 90, Road to Avonlea, Friday the 13th, Street Legal, Corner Gas, and the miniseries RoboCop: Prime Directives (2000). He narrated Curious George, an animated cartoon series, in 1983. His feature film credits include The Silent Partner (1978), Ordinary Magic (1993), Men with Guns (1997) and Lie with Me (2005).