You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Jay Scott

Jay Scott, Canada’s preeminent film critic, died Friday of liver failure brought on by complications from AIDS. He was 43.

A three-time winner of Canada’s National Newspaper Awards for his criticism, Scott also had written about popular culture, food, travel and the visual arts. Widely respected internationally, he was a frequent commentator on radio and television and hosted “Jay Scott’s Film International” on TV Ontario.

Born Jeffrey Scott Beaven in 1949 in Nebraska, he grew up in New Mexico. Raised as a Seventh-Day Adventist, he was virtually forbidden by church doctrine to see films.

“University was a revelation for me,” he had said. “Suddenly I was in the midst of people with other philosophies and exposed to a range of art I never knew existed. I was lucky; it liberated me.”

His first journalism job was for the Albuquerque Journal, where he covered city news. In 1975, his growing disenchantment with American involvement in Vietnam and an offer from the Calgary Albertan brought him to Canada with his wife, Mary. He worked as an investigative reporter and began to write film criticism. The latter won him his first National Newspaper Award.

Two years later he was hired by the Toronto Globe & Mail as a feature writer and adopted the name Jay Scott. He wrote a news and notes column, “FYI,” before moving to the film review post.

His fluid, flamboyant style and ability to bring in references from pop culture and esoterica in his reviews brought him notoriety. He was a sensation in an area not noted for celebrity. Scott’s penchant for leather and passion for motorcycles only added to the mystique.

But there was always the bedrock of precision and insight in his work. He was a champion of films of his adopted country, the independents and a panoply of underdog movies that needed a voice.

He was also in the vanguard in the area of censorship repeal, which had seen such films as “Pretty Baby”and “The Tin Drum” banned in Ontario.

In addition to “Midnight Matinees,” a collection of his movie pieces, he also authored the books “Changing Woman, the Life and Art of Helen Hardin” and “The Prints of Christopher Pratt.” He also has a forthcoming book on the films of director Norman Jewison.

Scott separated from his wife in 1980. He leaves no immediate family. A funeral service will be held Tuesday in Toronto at the Timothy Eaton Church. Donations may be sent to Casey House or AIDS Committee of Toronto.

More Scene

  • First Look at SAG Awards' Cuban

    First Look at SAG Awards' Cuban-Inspired After-Party (EXCLUSIVE)

    Celebrities at this year’s SAG Awards won’t have to go far for some tropical fun. Sunday’s annual post-show gala, hosted by People magazine for the 23rd year, is set to feature a Cuban-themed party space adjacent to the Shrine Auditorium. “We’re kind of going back to more of a thematic element. I have some close [...]

  • DF-10956_R – Gwilym Lee (Brian May) and

    'Bohemian Rhapsody' Producer Confirms Bryan Singer's Reason for Leaving, Says 'No One' Was Attached to Play Mercury

    “Bohemian Rhapsody” producer Graham King provided insight into some of the events surrounding the Golden Globe-winning film Saturday at the Producers Guild Awards Nominees Breakfast, including director Bryan Singer’s departure from the film partway through production. “It’s an unfortunate situation, with like 16, 17 days to go and Bryan Singer just had some issues, his [...]

  • Mj Rodriguez, Nico Santos to Announce

    Mj Rodriguez, Nico Santos to Announce GLAAD Media Award Nominations

    Mj Rodriguez and Nico Santos are set to announce the nominees for the 30th annual GLAAD Media Awards. The “Pose” star and “Crazy Rich Asians” funny man will make the announcement during a live-stream hosted by AT&T and from the AT&T Hello Lounge at the Sundance Film Festival on Friday, Jan. 25. “The images and stories recognized [...]

  • Emile Hirsch, Matt SmileyEmile Hirsch hosts

    Emile Hirsch Hosts Smiley Face Art Opening at Mondrian Hotel

    Despite the rain on Wednesday night in West Hollywood, there were plenty of smiles inside the Mondrian hotel thanks to artist Matt Smiley‘s Refresh exhibition. Not only is Smiley his real last name, but several of his paintings and other pieces in the exhibit feature smiley faces. “I’ve seen more smiley symbolism lately, and I’ve [...]

  • Randall Park, left, and Constance Wu

    Constance Wu Wants Her 'Fresh Off the Boat' Co-Star Randall Park to Host the Oscars

    While the Academy may have decided to go hostless for this year’s Oscars, that doesn’t mean the rest of Hollywood has stopped thinking about who would be a good choice for the emceeing gig. Former host Whoopi Goldberg recently suggested Ken Jeong. Jeong said, when he was a guest on “The View,” Goldberg told him [...]

  • 'Schitt's Creek' Stars Reveal Dream Guest

    'Schitt's Creek' Cast Reveals Dream Guest Stars: Oprah, Beyonce and ...

    “Schitt’s Creek” has big dreams. Dan Levy, who stars as David on the series, says his wish list of guest stars includes Oprah, Beyonce, Mariah Carey and Gwyneth Paltrow. “All for different reasons, none of whom we’ll get,” he cracked at the Critics’ Choice Awards. For those who haven’t caught on to the “Schitt’s Creek” [...]

  • Barbra Streisand and Gisele Bundchen

    Barbra Streisand and Gisele Bündchen to Be Honored at UCLA Science Gala

    Science can be very glamorous. It certainly will be during Oscar week on Feb. 21 when the UCLA Institute of the Environment & Sustainability (IoES) honors Barbra Streisand and Gisele Bündchen for environmental activism at its annual Hollywood for Science Gala. “When I moved to LA, the air was unbreathable. Rivers were catching fire in [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content