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Canadian broadcaster, humorist, and author Stuart McLean became widely known in the late '90s as the host of The Vinyl Cafe on CBC Radio, in which he performed humorous story-monologues about the fictional Toronto family of Dave, who ran the Vinyl Cafe record store; his wife, Morley; their teenage daughter, Stephanie; and their younger son, Sam. Often involving mishaps based around well-intentioned deeds and ideas that didn't work out quite as intended, McLean delivered the stories in a droll, inviting manner that was both satirical and affectionate. The author of numerous short-story collections based on the Vinyl Cafe tales, McLean also issued various spoken word albums of live performances of stories used on the program. Beginning in 1998, he took his show on the road, performing excerpts from the program to audiences across North America. The Vinyl Cafe, in its various iterations, remained popular over the next decade and half before McLean's diagnosis of melanoma forced him to abandon the show in late 2015.
In addition to his Vinyl Cafe projects, McLean also worked as a radio documentarian, journalist, and CBC broadcaster. Author of the books Welcome Home: Travels in Small Town Canada and The Morningside World of Stuart McLean, he was also a professor at Toronto's Ryerson University before retiring in 2004. Throughout his career, McLean received numerous literary awards, including the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour and the Canadian Author's Association Jubilee Award. He was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2011 for his contributions to culture and his charitable work. On February 15, 2017, McLean died of cancer, leaving behind a rich legacy of written and recorded work. ~ Richie Unterberger