Dal Richards, who helped Vancouver bring in New Year, dies at 97

VANCOUVER -- A man who helped Vancouverites bring in the New Year for decades died just minutes before the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve.

See Full Article

Dal Richards was 97.

His wife, Muriel Richards, says Dal and his band had been booked to play the New Year's Eve party at the Hotel Vancouver, where he'd played from 1940 to 1965.

But she says he became ill in November, and not wanting to disappoint an audience with a substandard performance, he decided to cancel.

Richards received the Order of Canada in 1994, and is also on the BC Lions Wall of Fame in acknowledgment of his many years as musical director of half-time shows.

During his nearly 80-year string of New Year's Eve performances, Richards also played at the Bayshore Hotel and the River Rock Casino.

"Dal was always a real professional, consumate performer and he felt if he couldn't be what he'd been for all the rest of it that he wasn't going to put on a poor show," Muriel Richards said in an interview on Friday.

"New Years Eve was such a big thing to him and to not be able to do it really saddened him."

Richards took up music as a way to console himself after losing an eye in a slingshot accident at the age of nine. The disability made him ineligible for service during the Second World War, which is how he managed to have so many consecutive New Year's Eve shows.

When swing and big band went out of style and gigs dried up in the mid-1960s, Richards went into the hotel management business. But he still kept a band going on the side and always had a booking to ring in the new year.

Demand picked up in the early 1980s and Richards cut records. Until he became ill, his band was still taking bookings for weddings, birthdays and conventions.

Richards said her husband's last performance was a Christmas party at the Vancouver Club. Dal was in hospital, she said, but he put on his tuxedo and joined his band at the party to take the stage and sing "As Time Goes By."

His family sang "Auld Lang Syne" to him on the Dec 30 because they didn't think he'd last until another full day. He died at 11:41 p.m. on Dec 31.



Advertisements

Latest Entertainment News

  • Ellen DeGeneres sets record after winning 3 People's Choice Awards

    Entertainment CTV News
    LOS ANGELES - Ellen DeGeneres set a record at the People's Choice Awards , becoming the winningest entertainer in the show's history. DeGeneres picked up three trophies at Wednesday's ceremony for a career total of 20 People's Choice wins. Source
  • Default Image

    Ray Liotta finds career upswing with cop drama

    Entertainment CTV News
    PASADENA, Calif. -- Ray Liotta knows that he's firmly cemented in the public's mind as the real-life mobster he played in the 1990 movie "Goodfellas." Even if the 62-year-old actor has moved on, working steadily over the years, he found out not everyone else has done so. Source
  • Ellen Degeneres makes history at 43rd People's Choice Awards [Photos]

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Actress and comedienne Ellen Degeneres made People’s Choice Awards history in Los Angeles on Wednesday night by becoming the most decorated celebrity in the TV ceremony’s 43 years. The Finding Dory star, who hosts her own top-rated daytime talk show in America, picked up her 20th, 21st and 22nd awards at the Microsoft Theater. Source
  • Virginia executes man who killed House of Freaks singer and his family

    Entertainment CBC News
    Virginia has executed a man convicted of killing two young girls and their parents during a New Year's Day home invasion more than 11 years ago. Authorities say 39-year-old Ricky Gray was pronounced dead at 9:42 p.m. Source
  • Man admits to swindling Alanis Morissette of nearly $5M US

    Entertainment CBC News
    The former business manager for Alanis Morissette admitted embezzling more than $7 million from the singer and other celebrities and agreed to plead guilty to federal charges, prosecutors said Wednesday. Jonathan Todd Schwartz, 48, of Los Angeles, was charged with wire fraud and filing a false tax return for failing to report the embezzled funds, prosecutors said. Source
  • 'A Dog’s Purpose' video triggers calls for boycott 

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    WINNIPEG — A Toronto-based animal law organization has filed animal cruelty complaints over the treatment of a German shepherd on the set of the film “A Dog’s Purpose.” Animal Justice says footage apparently shot near Winnipeg in November 2015 shows the filmmakers forcing the dog into turbulent water. Source
  • Trump escalates Tom Ford fashion feud

    Entertainment CTV News
    The Wynn Las Vegas hotel has stopped selling Tom Ford cosmetics and sunglasses and President-elect Donald Trump declared on television it is because of the designer's dis over dressing his wife, Melania. Michael Weaver, spokesman for the hotel, confirmed it removed Ford's lines of those items from its stores over the weekend, but declined to say why. Source
  • Complaint filed over treatment of dog on Winnipeg-area film set

    Entertainment CTV News
    WINNIPEG -- A Toronto-based animal law organization has filed animal cruelty complaints over the treatment of a German shepherd on the set of the film "A Dog's Purpose." Animal Justice says footage apparently shot near Winnipeg in November 2015 shows the filmmakers forcing the dog into turbulent water. Source
  • Alanis Morissette's ex-manager admits to $4.8M theft from singer

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    LOS ANGELES — The former business manager for Alanis Morissette admitted embezzling more than $6.5 million from the singer and other celebrities and agreed to plead guilty to federal charges, prosecutors said Wednesday. Jonathan Todd Schwartz, 48, of Los Angeles, was charged with wire fraud and filing a false tax return for failing to report the embezzled funds, prosecutors said. Source
  • Animal rights group files complaint to province over 'blatant animal cruelty' on A Dog's Purpose film set

    Entertainment CBC News
    A national animal welfare group has filed a complaint with Manitoba authorities after a video surfaced online which appears to show a dog being forced into churning water during the production of soon-to-be released film A Dog's Purpose. Source