Montreal journalist, screenwriter Matthew Cope dies at age 74

MATTHEW COPE

A sad loss for Montreal's arts and culture community - screenwriter, photographer and journalist Matthew Cope passed away today after a brief illness.

Born in England, Cope and his unmistakable voice were often heard on the Melanie King Show in the 1980s chatting about movies. But he was a virtual Renaissance man who worked as a photographer and then dabbled in radio and TV after arriving in Montreal in 1972 before speading his wings into screenwriting.

His close friend Michael Libling, host of the original Trivia Show on CJAD 800, said they spoke almost every day, including last Friday for an hour "chatting about movies, TV, books and politics." It was the day before Cope fell ill.

"He leaves a tremendous void. He was witty, funny, smart, wise and grumpy as heck right to the end...and I loved every minute of it. The weirdest thing is, I want to call him right now and speak to him about his own passing. It is truly and totally crushing," Libling told CJAD in a written comment.

Libling, his wife, Cope and CJAD 800 host Dr. Joe Schwarcz got together every weekend at a different restaurant for their Saturday Morning Breakfast Club.

"Our morning breakfast meetings were diverse - we discussed everything from politics to theatre to movies to newspaper articles and Matthew was able to comment on absolutely everything," said Schwarcz in a phone interview.

"In his various careers, he had interviewed a lot of very interesting and famous people. So he would regale us with stories and whenever something would come up, we'd have some discussion and Matthew would come in and say, 'Oh, yeah, I met him, I met Sean Connery - it was this time and here and there.' So he always had something interesting to say."

Cope was 74.

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