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CTV vice president of Network Relations, Marjorie Anthony Linden, Oct. 21, 1982. When Ms. Anthony Linden was at CTV, the sign on her door read ‘Vice Princess.’ (Thomas Szlukovenyi/The Globe and Mail)
CTV vice president of Network Relations, Marjorie Anthony Linden, Oct. 21, 1982. When Ms. Anthony Linden was at CTV, the sign on her door read ‘Vice Princess.’ (Thomas Szlukovenyi/The Globe and Mail)

Obituary

Broadcast pioneer Marjorie Anthony Linden dies, 77 Add to ...

It wasn’t long, however, before she was back on air. She joined CKGM radio as a commercial writer before taking over all-night duties as a disc jockey, another first. She then returned to television as a commentator and weather reporter at CFCF in Montreal.

Seeking opportunities in bigger markets, she moved to Houston, as a producer at an NBC affiliate. Two notable specials Ms. Anthony shepherded to completion were Furnishings of the White House and A Texan Visits the White House, with Lady Bird Johnson.

For an ambitious, fearless young woman with production experience, Hollywood was the ultimate lure. In the 1960s she landed the position of VP of Artist Relations at a company that handled the comedy duo the Smothers Brothers. When CBS cancelled The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour in 1969 owing to the brothers’ taste for material that was critical of the political mainstream, such as their skepticism about the Vietnam War, Ms. Anthony moved to a division of CBS Records in New York.

For the next two years she worked on the production of albums for many famous artists, including Kenny Rogers, Barry Manilow, Melissa Manchester and Nana Mouskouri. During this period she also oversaw a world tour, two television productions and two records – including Hot August Night, a live double album – for singer Neil Diamond. Back in California, she reconnected with the Smothers Brothers, becoming their personal manager.

Both brothers spoke of her warmly.

In a telephone interview with The Globe and Mail, Tom Smothers said: “Both Dick and I adored her. We felt very comfortable and very confident with her as our manager and there weren’t many personal managers who were women at the time. Her advice was always good. She was very solid. There was a time when the Smothers Brothers were considered difficult and she kind of smoothed it out for us. You don’t get to hug your personal manager very often and I got a lot of good hugs from her.”

Dick Smothers added, in a separate telephone interview: “Marge was an amazingly warm and intelligent human being. She had a great mothering instinct [laughing] that temperamental artists need. She loved travelling with us. She seemed to be on a diet most of the time, so, in nice restaurants, we’d arrange for the waiter to bring her rich, gooey desserts. She’d laugh and push them away but we’d talk her into having a few bites. She was fun to be around. I think she liked me best but Tom thought she liked him best. That’s how good she was.”

In 1978, Marjorie returned to Canada and CTV, where she worked on building campaigns around shows, including publicity and communications for the Calgary Olympics. For her work on the network’s six-part miniseries on the Vatican, she accepted an invitation to an audience in Rome with Pope John Paul II.

After two brief, youthful marriages, she settled down with Mr. Justice Allen Linden, who sat on the Federal Court of Canada. The two married in 1984, celebrating their 25th anniversary in 2009. Ms. Anthony Linden adored her husband’s three daughters and eventual seven grandchildren.

Although she never had children of her own, she delighted in the company of nephews and nieces. In turn, their glamorous blonde aunt, who drove a white convertible and lived beside actress Jane Fonda, wowed them.

Sympathetic to charitable causes, she helped businessman/hotelier Issy Sharp organize the annual Terry Fox run. She also arranged toll-free numbers for Child Find to appear on CTV.

In the 1980s, at the request of the prime minister’s wife, Mila Mulroney, Ms. Anthony Linden produced a “Match of Champions” hockey game, pitting the Edmonton Oilers against the Montreal Canadiens, as well as a star-filled television gala with Celine Dion, David Foster and Christopher Plummer. The events raised $2-million for cystic fibrosis.

Bonnie Brownlee, then working as an executive assistant to the Mulroneys, recalls meeting Ms. Anthony Linden for the first time: “People were drawn to her instantly. She had such elegance and grace.”

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