He was best known to children of the eighties as the iconic host of Canada’s first major daily music video show, CFMT’s Video Singles in 1983, which pre-dated MuchMusic and led to the legendary Toronto Rocks program on CityTV (click here for a clip of the intro). Perched before multiple TV screens on a tiny set, John Majhor’s loose style and low-fi production would foreshadow the oft-copied format that CityTV would make famous over the next two decades. Majhor quickly became a pin-up veejay in the mid-80s, along with his MuchMusic compatriot J.D. Roberts, while Flashdance-style Toronto Rocks! sweatshirts became ubiquitous across the city.
For radio fans, Majhor was better known as Toronto’s preeminent rock voice, helming 1050 CHUM’s afternoon drive time slot from 1975 until joining CHUM’s morning team ten years later, and then off on multiple stints both north and south of the border. John Majhor served as one of E!‘s original anchors, had a radio talk show on CFRB and was a mid-day news staple on CityTV in the early nineties. His dual citizenship allowed him to easily work on both sides of the border (he was born in San Bernardino, California).
On 7 AM on Tuesday morning, Majhor died of cancer at the age of 53 at his home in Minnesota. The day before, his family posted a notice on his MySpace profile that Majhor had little awareness of his surroundings and was succumbing to the disease, which had progressed more rapidly than doctors expected. The notice also stated that it was important to him to be very frank about his illness, and that radiation treatment last October intended to shrink the lesions in his brain had been ineffective. Majhor even posted images of a bone scan that documented some of his treatment for adenocarcinoma.
In explaining his disease, Majhor wrote, “It started out as non-small cell lung cancer and spread to the bloodstream, which means every sector of my body is now getting washed in it. The main points are lungs, left shoulder, lymph glands near my right lung, pelvic regions, various muscle tissue, adrenal glands on my kidneys and three lesions in my brain. Unfortunately, the treatment I have been receiving won’t kill it.”
He gave his last major interview to The Star in December. “I listen to the radio and it depresses me,” he told reporter Cameron Gordon. “I have such a strong urge to get back on the air. It’s what I do and it just feels like a piece of me is missing.”
Majhor stated in his online bio that his heroes were “people who just put it all out there and don’t give a shit what others think about them. And of those, the ones who use their lack of fear for good.”
John Majhor’s remains will be cremated and a small service will be held for family. As per his wishes, his ashes will be scattered near where he grew up in South Dakota.
Images of John Majhor with Elton John and on the set of Toronto Rocks from Majhor’s MySpace page.