Sid Adilman, one of Canada’s most influential arts and entertainment journalists, died of heart failure Oct. 14 in Toronto. He was 68.
Adilman was an enthusiastic champion of Canadian movies, books, music and television. He spent most of his professional life as writer, critic, columnist and, from 1986 to 1991, entertainment editor for the Toronto Star. He also served as a correspondent and Canadian editor for Variety from 1965 to the late 1980s.
Adilman “was in that incredible tradition of giants in newspapering and entertainment,” said John Honderich, former publisher and editor of the Star. “He had the tenacity of a cub reporter. He never lost his drive to get at it, find out what happened and get it out. His knowledge of Canadian entertainment was encyclopedic.”
Born in Saskatoon and raised in London, Ontario, Adilman graduated from the U. of Western Ontario. Shortly after graduation, he landed a job at the Toronto Star covering general news. Three years later, he moved on to the now- defunct Toronto Telegram. When the paper folded in 1971, he returned to the Star to begin his long-running “Eye on Entertainment” column.
“His network of sources was legendary,” said Toronto Star colleague Isabel Teotonio, adding that Adilman’s Rolodex “not only contained the numbers of his sources, but also their mistresses.”
Even after his retirement in 2002, Adilman continued to write for the Star, frequently reviewing films and interviewing filmmakers during the Toronto Film Festival. He counted many international film journalists among his close friends, and often invited fellow scribes to stay as guests in his spacious home during the festival.
His contributions to Canadian culture were honored in 2002 at a gala dinner at the Canadian Film Center, an event sponsored by the film center and the Toronto Film Festival. Among the guests were many entertainment figures whose profile Adilman helped boost, including filmmaker Atom Egoyan, actress Arsinee Khanjian, folksingers Bram Morrison and Sharon Hampson and broadcasting exec Peter Herrndorf.
Adilman is survived by his wife of 41 years, Toshiko, and sons Mio and Nobu, both actors and filmmakers.