Rakoff, Alvin 1927-

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Rakoff, Alvin 1927-


Born February 6, 1927, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada; son of Samuel (a shopkeeper) and Pearl Rakoff; married Jacqueline Hill (an actress), June 4, 1958; children: Sasha Victoria, John-Dmitri. Education: University of Toronto, B.A., 1948.


Home—London, England.


Writer, director, producer, 1950s—. Journalist with the Northern Daily News, Kirkland, Ontario, Canada, Windsor Star, Windsor, Ontario, Toronto Globe and Mail, Toronto, Ontario, and Lakeshore Advertiser, Toronto, 1949-52; British Broadcasting Corp. (BBC-TV), London, England, writer, director, and producer, 1953-57; freelance film and television director in London, 1957—. Producer of television program Waiting for Gillian. Director of films and television programs, including A Voyage Round My Father, Call Me Daddy, Joker's Justice, Hoffman, On Friday at Eleven, The World in My Pocket, The Legend of Pepito, Say Hello to Yesterday, Crossplot, Dirty Tricks, Mr. Halphen and Mr. Johnson, A Dance to the Music of Time, Heart to Heart, A Place of Execution, A Town has Turned to Dust, The Teckman Biography, Three Empty Tooms, Requiem for a Heavyweight, Separate Tables, IRemember You, The Room, Stage Struck, Too Marvelous for Words, The Good Partners, The Seekers, The Heretics, The Idealists, The Materialists, the Breadwinner, Call Me Back, Come in Razor Red, Cheap in August, The Condemned, Epitaph, The Emperor Jones, The Face of Love, The First Olympics-Athens 1896, The Hole in the Wall, How to Impeach a President, In Praise of Love, and Paradise Postponed. Director of plays, including Hamlet.


Directors Guild of Great Britain (former president), Directors UK, Writers Guild of Great Britain.


National television award, London Daily Mail, 1955, for "Waiting for Gillian"; International Emmy Award, Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, 1968, for "Call Me Daddy"; three Banff Festival Awards, including best director and best in festival.


& Gillian (novel), Warner Books (London, England), 1996.

Baldwin Street: A Novel, Bunim & Bannigan (New York, NY), 2007.

Author of novel Seven Einsteins.


A Flight of Fancy, BBC-TV, 1952.

(With others) The Troubled Air (adaptation), BBC-TV, 1953.

Thunder in the Realm, BBC-TV, 1955.

(And director) Our Town (adaptation), BBC-TV, 1957.

(And director) The Caine Mutiny Court Martial (adaptation), BBC-TV, 1958.

(And director) Comedy Man (film), GrayFilms, 1964.

(And director) Say Hello to Yesterday (film), Cinerama, 1967.

Summer and Smoke (adaptation), BBC-TV, 1971.

(And director) A Kiss Is Just a Kiss (adaptation), Anglia Television, 1971.

(And director) A Man about a Dog (adaptation), Anglia Television, 1972.

(With others, and director) The Adventures of Don Quixote (adaptation), BBC-TV, 1972.

(And director) Rooms, Thames Television, 1974.

O Canada, BBC-TV, 1974.

Mine-shaft, BBC-TV, 1975.

Lulu Street (adaptation), CBC-TV, 1975.

(And director) In Praise of Love (adaptation), Anglia Television, 1975.

(And director) Romeo and Juliet (adaptation), BBC-TV, 1978.

(With others, and director) City on Fire (film), Avco Embassy, 1979.

Creator of the "Sam Saturday" series, 1991.


Alvin Rakoff is a writer of plays, television plays, and screenplays, including adaptations; he is also a director and producer. His novels include & Gillian, a love story; Seven Einsteins, a science fiction thriller about human cloning; and Baldwin Street: A Novel, which is based on his life in a prewar working class neighborhood in Toronto. The protagonist is Leonard Ableson, who lives above the store in which he works.

Hazel Rochman reviewed the novel and wrote that it should appeal to the older generation of immigrants, as well as their children, "who, like Rakoff's characters, are returning now to what their parents rejected."



Booklist, March 15, 2007, Hazel Rochman, review of Baldwin Street: A Novel, p. 26.