Jack MacAndrew, journalist, broadcaster and theatre producer, dies

One of Prince Edward Island's best-known broadcasters and journalists has died.
A selection of Jack MacAndrew clips, from the Springhill mining disaster to Mike Duffy. 3:27

One of Prince Edward Island's best-known broadcasters and journalists has died.

Jack MacAndrew was recently diagnosed with cancer. He died Friday morning at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown. He was 81.

Jack MacAndrew was a columnist with the Eastern Graphic newspaper, a position he held for more than 20 years.

"He had such a power with the language. I mean he was the sharpest man at turning a phrase I have ever met. When he pointed toward a target with his words, he won," said Eastern Graphic publisher Paul MacNeil.

"This is a guy who was everywhere at defining moments. I mean, he was at the mine pit in Springhill ... and sending the first radio waves across the Atlantic and internationally. In the 1970s, when CBC had budgets for cultural programming, he was doing the CBC superspecials."

MacAndrew started his work as a journalist with the CBC in 1956. He wrote, produced and hosted several television shows before moving on in 1965.

MacAndrew's journalism credentials included broadcasting the tragedy of two Springhill mine disasters in Nova Scotia to people around the world. More recently, he was honoured with Atlantic Journalism Awards for his work in the Graphic and Saltscapes Magazine.

After leaving CBC, MacAndrew joined the Charlottetown Festival, producing original Canadian musicals, including Anne of Green Gables and Johnny Belinda.

In 1974 MacAndrew rejoined the CBC as national head of variety programming. Over the next decade, he produced a series of hour-long superspecials featuring top Canadian talent, including Anne Murray, Gordon Lightfoot, Oscar Peterson, and Paul Anka.

When MacAndrew returned to P.E.I. in 1985 he did more work for the CBC, including a segment on Island Morning called Straight Talk. He was also a regular commentator and panellist on Island Morning and Compass on politics and other subjects.

In addition to working as a journalist and producer, MacAndrew was a political adviser to two P.E.I. premiers: Alex Campbell and Joe Ghiz.

MacAndrew left behind his wife, Barbara, and two sons, Shaun and Randy, five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. Randy MacAndrew works as a videographer for the CBC in Charlottetown.