Toronto

Chris Hyndman 'saved my life' says friend Jeanne Beker

Fashion journalist Jeanne Beker tells Metro Morning that Chris Hyndman, who died suddenly Monday, 'saved my life' as she worked through a difficult divorce.

Sudden death of Steven and Chris co-host leaves friend 'in absolute shock'

A book of condolences has been set up at the CBC Broadcasting Centre for people to share their memories of Chris Hyndman, who died Monday. Hyndman was one half of the television duo behind the successful CBC show Steven and Chris. (Andrew Lupton/CBC)

Jeanne Beker says the fashion community is reeling over the sudden death of Chris Hyndman, a former colleague and friend who she credits with helping her through one of the darkest periods of her life. 

"I can honestly say that Chris saved my life at one point when I was going through a depression," said Beker in an interview Wednesday on CBC Radio's Metro Morning. "He talked to me about all the reasons I had for living. He was a guy that would always be there for you."

Hyndman — one half of the television duo Steven and Chris on CBC television — was found dead in Toronto's east end on Monday night. He was 49. 

Toronto police told CBC News on Tuesday that Hyndman was found without vital signs in a laneway near the intersection of Queen Street and Broadview Avenue shortly after 11 p.m. ET Monday. His death spurred an outpouring of sympathy on social media.

Beker, the former host of Fashion Television and one of Canada's best-known fashion journalists, first met Hyndman in the early 1990s when he was working behind the makeup counter at The Bay in Toronto.

"He called out to me, trying to sell some skin care products, and we started chatting," she said.

The two became friends and later colleagues, with Hyndman going on to work as a makeup artist where Beker worked as a television journalist at CityTV. 

Beker said in addition to Hyndman's outgoing spirit and sense of humour familiar to Steven and Chris viewers, he was also a kind, loyal friend who helped her though a difficult divorce. 

"He scraped me off the floor when my marriage came to an end," said Beker. 

She recalled how Hyndman worked to support the television aspirations of his life-partner Steven Sabados, before Steven and Chris became a hit show. 

Beker said Hyndman was working to get Sabados on TV, not himself. A producer noticed the couple's undeniable chemistry and suggested they work as a duo.

Friend and fashion journalist Jeanne Beker recalled how Chris Hyndman was at first reluctant to become a television host. "He never saw himself as that kind of on-air personality, but what a great one he made." A book of condolences for Hyndman has been set up inside the atrium of the CBC Broadcasting Centre in Toronto. (Andrew Lupton/CBC)

 "Chris was torn about it," Beker recalled. "He never saw himself as that kind of on-air personality, but what a great one he made."

The on-screen pairing of Hyndman and Sabados went on to notable success with several programs before appearing on CBC-TV, including the HGTV shows Chic with Steven and Chris, Design Rivals and Designer Guys.

"He really knew and loved the power of glamour and I think that's what he brought to women from coast to coast," said Beker.

She also praised Hyndman and Sabados for choosing to be open and public about their relationship as a couple on and off the screen.

"They really did blaze trails in that area and they will be remembered for that as a couple."

A book of condolences has been set up in the atrium of the CBC Broadcast Centre in Toronto for people to share their memories of Hyndman.

"We're all reeling," said Beker. "He will be so sorely missed." 

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