Montreal journalist, author and filmmaker William Weintraub dead at 91

Montreal journalist, author and filmmaker William Weintraub dead at 91
From CBC - November 9, 2017

William Weintraub, a prolific filmmaker involved in 150 National Film Board productions and a gifted chronicler of Montreal during the city's heyday and decline, has died at the age of 91.

The journalist and author, who died Monday, grew up in the working-class district of Verdun after his wealthy father lost his fortune in the stock market crash of 1929, said longtime friend and veteran journalist Alan Hustak.

In the early 1950s while working at the Montreal Gazette, Weintraub insulted the managing editor of the paper at a party without knowing the boss was in the room.

He was promptly fired.

"(Weintraub) was also trying to organize a union at the time," Hustak said. "He turned the experience into his first best-selling novel."

Why Rock the Boat,published in 1961, is a cynical tale of a young reporter in Montreal during the 1940s. The book was adapted into a movie produced by the NFB in 1974.

Hustak, who was a Gazette reporter for 25 years before he retired from the paper in 2009, said Weintraub left for Europe after his firing and became a radio reporter.

During that time he befriended well-known Montreal-born writers Mordecai Richler and Mavis Gallant.

"Bill was wonderfully funny," said Hustak. "He was sentimental, he was an engaging gossip and a first-rate storyteller both in person and in print.

Sometimes brutally honest historian


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