Born on December 3, 1927, the now 85-year-old Torontonian is reportedly plugging away at the same daily routine that has served him so well in two daunting fields of human experience for some sixty years: writing the comic and complex stories of Canadian life and wrangling the comic and complex cases of Canadian corporate law.
Torgov got his first taste of writing while a teenager working part time for the local newspaper in his home town, which was, as his fans know well, the Northern Ontario steel mill city of Sault Ste. Marie. He developed his love of words further while in university where he counted literature as his favoured field of study. But the imperative to earn a living and secure a respected profession propelled him into law school at Osgoode Hall where he met his wife Anna Pearl and eventually onto a job as a big city lawyer. They had two children, a boy named Alexander, and a daughter, the actress and artist Sarah Torgov.
Although he continued to write on the side, it was not until his father passed away in the mid-1960s that Torgov felt free enough to pen his first book which drew on difficult personal reminiscences of life the Soo. The book A Good Place to Come From won the Leacock Medal in 1975. In 1983, another of his works, The Outside Chance of Maximilian Glick, also won a Leacock Medal.
His writing led to other successful novels, stage plays, and short stories published in leading magazines and papers. He is books prompted television productions, plays by others, and, in the case of Max Glick, a television series.
Torgov inspires for several reasons. He was clearly able to manage is time, focusing on intense bill-paying work in the day and switching in a dedicated way to writing at night. He also used his works as a platform to support the CNIB and to pioneer audio books for the Blind.Finally, Torgov inspires me because he has managed to continue his work, maintain his character, and pursue his interests after personal tragedy, Alexander’s death in 2009: the kind of thing that really tests one’s capacity for humour and kindly contemplation of the incongruities of life.