Peter Herrndorf, lawyer, Canadian media mogul and the former president and chief executive officer of the National Arts Centre, has died at age 82.

Matthew Herrndorf confirmed the news, saying his father died of cancer early Saturday morning “surrounded by family” at Toronto’s Hennick Bridgepoint Hospital.

“He had a big and consequential and important life, and [it’s] hard to put into words what he meant to us and what he meant to Canada,” Matthew Herrndorf said in an interview on Saturday.

Peter Herrndorf served as head of the National Arts Centre from 1999 to 2018 after a long career in media, and is credited for establishing the NAC Foundation and NAC’s Indigenous Theatre Department.

Herrndorf sits a bench on the staircase of the newly built National Arts Centre’s main hall entrance in June 2017. (Fred Chartrand/The Canadian Press)

Herrndorf was born in Amsterdam, raised in Winnipeg, and got a political science and English degree from the University of Manitoba in 1962. He later studied law at Dalhousie University and obtained a master’s in administration from Harvard Business School, his biography on the NAC’s website said.

Long career with CBC

Herrndorf joined the CBC in Winnipeg in 1965, eventually becoming a vice-president, where he helped develop long-standing series including The Fifth Estate and The Journal.

He later took on roles as publisher of Toronto Life magazine, as well as chairman and CEO of TVOntario.

Herrndorf was awarded the Order of Ontario in 2008 for having revolutionized Canadian broadcasting, publishing and the performing artsĀ at the various organizations where he served.

He later received the Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award from former governor general Julie Payette during the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards at Rideau Hall in Ottawa in 2018.

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