Fonds MsC-120 - Daryl Duke fonds

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Title proper

Daryl Duke fonds

General material designation

  • Textual records
  • Multi-media

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


  • 1940-2006 (Creation)
    Duke, Daryl

Physical description area

Physical description

8.90 m of textual records and other material

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Archival description area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Film director Daryl Duke’s Emmy Award winning career spans a wide range of accomplishments in feature films, television dramas, documentaries and television specials. In a career that spanned more than half a century, Duke worked as a producer and a director, for both Canadian Television networks, for all three major U.S. networks and for most of the major studios in Hollywood.

Film and television assignments took Duke to South America, China, the countries of Southeast Asia and India, as well as the Middle East, Yugoslavia, Europe and England. His work was seen at many festivals including the famous Cannes International Festival of Film where his American movie, Payday, was an entry in the official festival category, “The Director’s Fortnight.”

Duke directed the 10-hour mini-series from the bestselling book The Thorn Birds. This series ranks among the most watched television dramas in the United States and Canada and continues to be broadcast around the world. For his work on this series, Duke received Emmy and Director’s Guild of America nominations.

Duke was honoured with an Emmy for his direction of “The Day the Lion Died,” an episode of The Senator television series for NBC. His production of I Heard The Owl Call My Name, a 90-minute drama for CBS and filmed on the west coast of Vancouver Island, earned Duke a Christopher Award.

Duke also received a National Society of Film Critics Special Award for his feature film Payday and the Canadian Film Awards (now call the Genies) Best Director and Best Picture Awards for the film The Silent Partner.

A native of Canada and a graduate of the University of British Columbia, Duke began his career as a film editor, writer and director for the National Film Board of Canada, internationally recognized for its excellence in film.

Duke originated the first television show from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s (CBC) station in Vancouver, CBUT, which went on the air in the early 1950s. While at the Vancouver studios of the CBC, Duke produced and directed variety programs, a classical music series, dramas and public affairs documentaries for both west coast audiences and the CBC network.

As Executive Producer and Director of the CBC series Quest, Duke’s productions included documentaries, music and comedy shows and documentary programming. The Toronto Star newspaper named Duke “Entertainment Star of the Year” for his work on the series.

In the United States, Duke produced The Steve Allen Show for the Westinghouse Broadcasting Company in Hollywood, and later the Les Crane Show in New York for the ABC television network. He also served as executive producer for the prime time CBS series Sunday.

In the mid-1970s, Daryl Duke founded and launched the independent television station CKVU-TV in Vancouver, Canada. He was its first President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board.

Duke has written many articles and essays on culture and media for The Globe and Mail, The Canadian Forum, The Georgia Strait, The London Free Press and The Vancouver Sun.

In 1997, Duke was inducted into “Starwalk” and the B.C. Entertainment Hall of Fame. In 1999, Duke was the first recipient of the “Outstanding Achievement Award for an Individual” at the Leo Awards. Duke was also member of the Board of Directors of BC Film, as well as a member of the Steering Committee of The Friends of Canadian Broadcasting.

In the fall of 2000, Duke was inducted into the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ Broadcasters Hall of Fame, and in October 2003, Daryl Duke was honoured by the Director’s Guild of Canada with a Lifetime Achievement Award recognizing more than a half-century of creative work in Canadian and international productions. In June 2004, Duke received the Doctor of Fine Arts honoris causa from Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia.

Daryl Duke died in West Vancouver, British Columbia on October 21, 2006 due to pulmonary fibrosis.

Custodial history

Scope and content

The fonds consists of records created by Duke from approximately 1946 to 2006. They are related to all aspects of Duke’s life and career. Among other types of records, the fonds includes:
• Drafts of Duke's articles, essays and speeches
• Personal and production photographs
• Annotated working scripts of various television and film productions
• Personal and administrative correspondence
• Legal records, personal and administrative correspondence pertaining to the takeover of CKVU-TV
• Awards
• Personal notes
• Journals
• Press clippings featuring work by and about Duke
• Ephemera collected by Duke
• Audio/visual material

Series have been determined during archival processing and are primarily based on the various activities that Duke engaged in over his life and working career (see the Arrangement note below for more details about series arrangement). The series are:
• Friends of Canadian Broadcasting
• Banff Television Festival
• Vancouver Awards Show
• General business correspondence
• Personal correspondence
• Essays and articles
• Personal notes
• Personal journals
• Agendas
• Personal publicity
• Film and television works
• Speeches
• Research
• Ephemera
• Audio recordings
• Videocassettes
• Photographs

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition


The first accession of the Duke fonds arrived in forty-five banker boxes. While much of the material had an established arrangement, an initial inventory describing the items in each box arrived with the accession. Each original box contained items related to many aspects of Duke's activities but there was little apparent order within each box. The archival assistant therefore assigned series while processing the fonds. Series are based on the major activities and types of materials present.

As records were transferred into archival boxes and folders, the archival assistant physically re-arranged the individual files to make them more coherent and accessible for future researchers. The original order within the files has not been changed.

The second accrual to the Duke fonds consisted of fourteen banker boxes. The same series were assigned to the new material, and again, the archivist physically arranged the individual files for coherence and accessibility.

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Finding aids

Series descriptions and file list are available.

Finding aid

Associated materials

Norman Klenman was a close friend and working partner of Daryl Duke for most of his career. His presence is felt throughout the collection and his own fonds can be found in the SFU Special Collections and Rare Books Archives, in MsC 101.

Related materials


Further accruals are expected.

Physical description

Includes ca. 430 photographs, 54 videocassettes, 22 audio reels, 15 books, 12 architectural drawings, 4 maps, 4 placards, 2 posters, and 1 mini-cassette.

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Description record identifier

Institution identifier

Simon Fraser University Library Special Collections and Rare Books

Rules or conventions

Rules for Archival Description



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Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Created May 20, 2014, LZ

Language of description

  • English

Script of description


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