Murray Westgate, HNIC's iconic Esso pitchman, dies at 100

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Murray Westgate, HNIC's iconic Esso pitchman, dies at 100 Empty Murray Westgate, HNIC's iconic Esso pitchman, dies at 100

Post by JAFO on Tue Aug 28, 2018 12:56 pm

For us "dated vets"

Murray Westgate, familiar to an early generation of TV viewers as Esso’s ‘Happy Motoring’ pitchman on Hockey Night In Canada, has died.

Westgate celebrated his 100th birthday in April at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto. Well into his 90s, he was receiving visits from friends in the broadcast world and NHL alumni.

Regina-born, Westgate was a radio operator in the Canadian Navy during dangerous convoy duty in the Second World War. After the war, he moved to Vancouver to work in local theatre.

For his role in Blue City Slammers, he earned a Genie nomination as Best Supporting Actor in 1988. He earlier won an ACTRA Award in 1979 for the CBC-TV film Tyler and once portrayed the prime minister in Two Solitudes. He was also in the more recent series Seeing Things.

He began appearing in Esso commercials in 1952, when the oil and gas company was the main commercial sponsor of HNIC, and kept his signature service station hat, bow tie and warm smile on air until 1968.

In the 1991 NHL playoffs, he was invited back to appear in Esso spots, in both a black-and-white clip from an original ad and an updated version. Westgate was inducted into the Canadian Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2002.


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