Pubdate: Sun, 05 Feb 2006
Source: London Free Press (CN ON)
Copyright: 2006 The London Free Press
Author: Patrick Maloney
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Popular)
Bookmark: (Emery, Marc)


Chris Doty, the historian whose plays and documentary films 
chronicled London's past, was found dead in his home after taking his 
own life. He was 39. A staple on the local cultural scene, Doty's 
death comes just before the latest play he wrote and produced, about 
London-bred pot activist Marc Emery, was to end its week-long 
downtown debut run last night.

"No one knows what he was battling . . . Forget about the ending and 
remember all the great things that led up to that," said Grant Doty, 
Chris's younger brother.

It was his love of his hometown that defined Chris Doty, those who 
knew him best said.

"Because he loved London so much, he wanted to find things that were 
interesting about it and promote it," Grant said.

Once called an "incisive, opinionated dynamo" by The Free Press, Doty 
started his own production company, Doty Docs, in 1995 and found a 
niche in telling London's all-but-forgotten stories.

His work included award-winning documentaries on the Grand Theatre, 
London's disastrous 1937 flood and the 1939 royal visit.

He also focused on more commercial fare, including a film chronicling 
the London Knights. In the past year, he wrote The Donnelly Trial, 
about the famed local slaying of the Donnellys, and Citizen Marc, 
about Emery's formative years in London.

Reached in Vancouver yesterday, Emery -- who first met Doty decades 
ago and saw him last week at the play's premiere -- was stunned by the news.

"He had many movies left in him to make and many, many more plays," 
said Emery, who remembers Doty as an intelligent, young customer at 
his City Lights bookshop.

"He was a wonderful person and a great credit to the London 
community. I'm honoured that his last work was the play about me."

John Gerry, who directed Citizen Marc, heard of Doty's death Friday 
night from Jason Rip, the play's co-writer. A pre-arranged cast and 
crew party let all involved talk about Doty hours later, Gerry said.

"It was pretty tough," he said. He expressed enormous respect for 
Doty's work, calling him -- in reference to a famed U.S. documentary 
film maker -- "the Ken Burns of London. He presented (stories) the 
best way possible, and the most honest way possible."

The cast and crew "talked . . . about the incredible amount of spirit 
he gave (London)."

The final show of Citizen Marc's week-long run went ahead last night, 
Gerry said. "I just think, you know, out of respect for Chris -- this 
was his show. The actors, they wanted to do it."

Another Doty project was the annual Brickenden Awards recognizing 
achievement in London's arts community. The latest ceremony was held Monday.

"Chris was a perfectionist. He always had high standards and 
expectations for every work," brother Grant said. "Myself and my mom 
were so proud of him. All the accolades he got, he deserved every bit."

Visitation is tomorrow at the John T. Donohue Funeral Home, 2 to 4 
p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. The funeral is Tuesday at Metropolitan United 
Church, 11 a.m.


- - Distress Centre (24 hours): 667-6711, 667-6600 - London Mental 
Health Crisis Service (24 hours): 433-2023. - Canadian Mental Health 
Association: 434-9191.
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