TORONTO (CP) _ Long-time Toronto entertainment promoter Gino Empry has died. An icon in the international artistic community, he was known for his work behind the scenes. He represented some of the biggest names in show business _ Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee, Bob Hope and Ella Fitzgerald.
The Toronto-born Empry was 83. Empry got involved in the industry as a teenager by starting his own drama group, then established himself as an actor, director and producer. Gordon Pinsent, a prolific actor and long-time friend, says Empry will be remembered for pushing others to stay true to themselves.
In 1964 Empry founded his own agency for booking and public relations. By 1970, he was an entertainment director and consultant for the Royal York Hotel’s Imperial Room, which was then the top nightclub in the country.
"He was there as the constant angel on your shoulder, reminding you not to give up, and that you are important," Pinsent said.
"He was a dear man who was loved by all of us who truly knew him."
But it was always his representation of local talent that set him apart.
"Gino was a truly a champion of Toronto talent," Pinsent said.
"He was a man who wanted the very best for us."