Koster, Wally

Wally (Walter Serge) Koster. Singer, trombonist, actor, b Winnipeg, of Polish-Russian parents, 14 Feb 1923, d Toronto 11 Dec 1975. Possessing a vigorous baritone, he sang at 16 with Joe DeCourcy's dance band in Winnipeg and at Jasper, Alta, performed on CJRC radio, Winnipeg, and made his CBC network debut replacing George Murray on the Woodhouse and Hawkins comedy show. After serving as a bandsman in World War II, he sang and played trombone with the Toronto dance orchestras of Ellis McLintock and, 1949-52, Mart Kenney.

A popular CBC performer during the 1950s, he appeared in 1952 on the network's inaugural telecast from Toronto, starred in 1954 on 'Trans-Canada Hit Parade' (radio), co-starred 1955-60 with Joyce Hahn on 'Cross-Canada Hit Parade' (TV) and was host in 1960 for 'The World of Music' (TV). Koster was also active in Toronto nightclubs and appeared in musical comedies - eg, Guys and Dolls (as Sky Masterson) in 1959 and Carousel (Billy Bigelow) in 1960 at Rainbow Stage, Most Happy Fella in 1962 at O'Keefe Centre, and Paradise Hill in 1967 at the Charlottetown Festival - and in CBC TV dramas. His recordings included some 78s in 1951 with Mart Kenney and LPs later for Capitol (Broadway Hit Parade SN-6301), RCI (173, with the Albert Pratz orchestra) the CTL, and the CBC's LM series.