One of B.C.’s most beloved journalists has died. Ian Caddell, a father of five and an anchor of the Georgia Straight film section since 1983, passed away at Vancouver General Hospital in the early hours of November 7 after a two-year fight with cancer. He was 63.
Caddell had a sweet disposition, a gift for telling stories, and a prodigious work ethic, never missing a Straight deadline even when he was in the hospital. His partner, lawyer Anja Brown, told the Straight that Caddell was a man of incredible compassion and infinite patience. “I think what impressed me the most about him was his absolute kindness and his unconditional love—and his ability to express that to me on an almost daily basis,” she said. “We had made all kinds of plans for a long and happy future together, but that was not to be.”
She added that he didn’t complain about his cancer even when it was obvious that he was struggling. “He had always been the provider for his boys and the one that was looking after everyone else,” Brown recalled. “It seemed to me that he wasn’t comfortable asking for help himself.”
She said that Caddell was at peace in his final days and wasn’t afraid of death. “He felt ready,” she revealed. “He was tired of his broken body.”
Over his career, Caddell interviewed thousands of actors, directors, and writers. Starting in 1989, he also edited the film-and-television trade publication Reel West Magazine and was, at different times, the full-time western Canadian correspondent for Variety and the Hollywood Reporter. This was in addition to numerous radio appearances on KISS FM and CKNW, and articles published in many publications, including the Toronto Star, the Globe and Mail, the Province, Vancouver magazine, BCBusiness, Canadian Screenwriter, and Western Living.
Caddell cofounded the Vancouver Film Critics Circle. In January, his fellow critics surprised him by renaming a prize for promoting the local film industry as the Ian Caddell Award for Achievement.
His son Adam Caddell told the Straight that his father had an “incredible mind” and he wanted his children to grow up to be “kind and interesting” people. “He worked extremely hard to support all of us,” Adam said. “That’s not easy to do in today’s world.”
In addition to Adam, he’s survived by sons Emmett, Nathan, Tobin, and Owen. “If you’re reading this, give your parents a call and tell them that you love them,” Adam wrote on his Facebook page. “Spend more time with them if you can. Time goes by so fast that sometimes we forget how precious it truly is.”
Georgia Straight publisher Dan McLeod pointed out that Caddell was admired for his encyclopedic knowledge about a wide range of topics. “His curiosity took him beyond mere facts into the little-known stories and human drama behind those facts,” McLeod said. “That thirst for knowledge didn’t stop with the many movie stars he interviewed, or all of the other personalities and stories that he followed.
“You could see the same depth of curiosity and caring in his personal life,” McLeod added. “He loved and cared deeply not only for his own family, but for his hundreds of close friends and their families. For the Georgia Straight family, he was one of our greatest unsung heroes. There was nothing fake about Ian. Those who knew him are feeling a huge loss now.”
Throughout Caddell’s ordeal with cancer, he was supported by his friend Stephanie Nicolls, who described him as a man without one iota of hubris. “He worked hard,” she stated. “He loved family. He was a loyal, devoted partner. Ian had many friends—from all circles and walks of life. And he was the type of guy who was considered by many people to be their best friend.”
She recalled Caddell as a man who laughed often and caused others to do the same. She also called him “a wit, a scholar, a keen historian, always curious, and a brilliant political analyst with a seemingly photographic memory”.
To Straight editor Charlie Smith, Caddell was the epitome of graciousness and decency. “We all know that Ian was a great raconteur,” Smith said. “People should also never forget that he was also a great human being and a very loving father. He often spoke with pride about his children’s accomplishments—much more often than he would ever speak of his own achievements.”
Lawyer John Nicolls has set up a trust fund at the Bank of Montreal branch in Yaletown (1004 Hamilton Street, Vancouver, B.C. V6B 2R9) to help Caddell’s sons get through university. Cheques should be made payable to “John Nicolls, ITR” and can be dropped off at or mailed to the bank or sent to Nicolls’s attention at the law firm Richards Buell Sutton.
There will be a celebration of Caddell’s life on November 24 at the Vancity Theatre.