Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: William Francis “Billy” Seller (1893-1985)

Pioneer broadcaster, actor.

Born at Parkstone, Dorset, England on 27 September 1893, son of William Henry Seller and Louisa Morgan, he came to Winnipeg in 1912 and worked as a clerk with the Union Bank. During the First World War, he served overseas with the Fort Garry Horse and later transferred to the Royal Flying Corps. After his military discharge, he returned to Winnipeg and spent a summer working as a timekeeper for a railway construction crew.

In 1922, he began working in early radio broadcasting, as an announcer for the Manitoba Free Press and Winnipeg Tribune radio stations. He moved to CKY radio in Winnipeg in 1931, serving as Program Director and later as Manager of CKX in Brandon (1936-1948). When CKX was sold to Brandon interests, he returned to Winnipeg and worked with MTS in plant engineering.

Keenly interested in theatre, he appeared with the Winnipeg Little Theatre, Stage 77, and Manitoba Theatre Centre, appearing in the first production of Brigadoon with Rainbow Stage. He appeared on television and served on the executive of ACTRA. He will be remembered for playing the role of “Mr. White” in the popular 1930s radio comedy series Ebony and White, which he wrote, and “Pat” in Bridget and Pat. In retirement, he served on the executive of the Telephone Pioneers of America.

On 17 September 1921, he married Dorothy Isabel Peters (c1898-1978) at Winnipeg and they had two daughters: Doreen Seller (?-2011, wife of ? Rosmus) and Lucille Allison “Babs” Seller (1927-2012, wife of Ross Edward Stewart).

He died at Winnipeg on 6 May 1985 and was buried in Waverley Memorial Gardens.

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Sherbrook Telephone Exchange Building (297 Sherbrook Street, Winnipeg)

Historic Sites of Manitoba: CKX Radio Building (220 Eighth Street, Brandon)

Sources:

Attestation papers, Canadian Expeditionary Force, Library and Archives Canada.

Marriage registration, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

Obituary [Dorothy Isabel Seller], Winnipeg Free Press, 29 November 1978, page 83.

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 8 May 1985, page 55.

Obituary [Lucille Allison Stewart], Winnipeg Free Press, 19 September 2012.

William Francis “Billy” Seller, FindAGrave.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 22 July 2021

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

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