James Carroll, journeyman CBC actor and voice of Muskoka radio, dies ‘calm and beautiful’ at 60
By Jake Edmiston
April 28, 2016
James Carroll, the journeyman CBC actor who reinvented himself as a beloved, small-town radio personality in Ontario, died Wednesday afternoon at the age of 60.
For decades, Carroll was a fixture of the Canadian stage and screen world, best-known for his portrayal of Max Sutton on the long-running CBC series Wind at My Back (1996-2001).
Read the Post's full profile on James Carroll
From noon to 2 p.m., no one at this cottage country radio station wants to speak much on air anymore. It is James Carroll’s slot and he isn’t here to fill it.
“We just let the music go now. We’re waiting for him to return.”
More recently, Carroll left show business and moved to Huntsville, Ont., to be close to his daughter, where he fell in with the town’s fledgling community radio station.
In 2010, he signed on just to do the afternoon show, but soon became a driving force — taking on other shows and helping Hunters Bay Radio grow from an online operation in the basement of a house into a 60-person FM radio station covering much of Ontario’s Muskoka cottage country.
“He is the one voice that everybody knows,” station director Jeff Carter told the National Post recently.
Carroll, born in Pennsylvania, decided to live in Toronto after working there in a theatre production in the 1970s, friends said.
During his career, he worked as a stage manager for Toronto’s Second City improv club and acted in several feature films, including Anne of Green Gables: A New Beginning, opposite Shirley MacLaine.
“Just a lovely guy,” Canadian actor Neil Crone, who worked with Carroll on Wind at My Back, said in a recent interview. “He was one of those guys who loved to hang out, loved to talk to crew people (on set). He was such a people person.
“He’d get to know the carpenter, would get to know the props guys.”
After Carroll was diagnosed with cancer last year, the town rallied round him, hosting a tribute at a theatre and raising more than $22,000 through an online fundraiser. He was hospitalized in early April and died of complications from small cell lung cancer, said Shauna Leigh Taylor, a friend who was at his bedside.
“There was some breaks between his breathing. And I thought, ‘Oh why don’t we have the radio on in here?’ — in this beautiful room at the hospice in Huntsville,” she said.
Carroll listened as his friend, Canadian musician Wendell Ferguson, played a live set on Hunters Bay Radio. The station broke for commercial and Carroll’s voice came over the radio, a pre-taped ad for a pizza restaurant.
“As soon as James’ commercial was over, his heart stopped,” Leigh Taylor said. “Honestly, it was the most beautiful thing. So calm and beautiful.”
Born: 1956, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
Died: 4/27/2016, Huntsville, Ontario, Canada
James Carroll’s western – voice actor:
Red Dead Redemption (VG) – 2010 [English voice of Norman Deek)