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Memorable Manitobans: James “Jimmy” King (1920-1987)

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Jimmy King
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Band leader.

Born at St. James, Manitoba on 26 April 1920, he attended Bannatyne School and Linwood School. After several part-time jobs, including a road trip with a country and western band, he joined the Royal Canadian Artillery in 1940 and served overseas for five and a half years. Returning home after the Second World War, his musical career began in 1950 with a brief engagement at Winnipeg’s Don Carlos night club.

From the 1950s through 1960s, he sold pianos for the T. Eaton Company while playing weddings, corporate events, and shows. He did occasional gigs at The Stage Door, a jazz club con Fort Street run by Jack Shapira. He later directed the Jimmy King Orchestra and the Golden Boy Brass. He wrote an entertainment column for the Winnipeg Free Press for over 13 years and, from the mid-1960s to mid-1970s, was musical director for the CKY Talent Show. A member of the Winnipeg Press Club, he participated for 25 years in its “Beer and Skits” and was Club President from 1984 to 1985. He also served as President of the St. James Assiniboia Museum.

He died of cancer at Winnipeg on 10 July 1987.


“Cancer claims famed band leader”, Winnipeg Free Press, 11 July 1987, page 3.

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 12 July 1987, page 25.

We thank Owen Clark for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 31 January 2019

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