Petty, Dini

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Petty, Dini

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Dini Petty (b. 15 January 1945) is a Canadian broadcaster, television personality and talk show host. Born in England, her family emigrated to Canada when she was four months old. In her early childhood Petty moved with her parents and two siblings to various cities in Canada and the United States, including the Rockcliffe neighbourhood in Ottawa, Ontario, Galt, Ontario, Baltimore, Maryland, and Danbury Connecticut, until settling in Toronto at the age of eleven where Dini Petty's mother Molly started a modeling agency with Sylvia Train , Producers' Services and her father Gord opened one of the country's first animation houses, Film Technique. Petty attended Park Lawn Public School in Etobicoke, and the Brown School and North Toronto Collegiate in Toronto. Petty has remarked that "I got thrown out of every high school I went to, for talking. No one mentioned this could be a career move."

As an adolescent, Petty worked as a model for her mother's agency working in local commercials, photo shoots and documentaries ("Who is Sylvia", 1957) under the name Diana Kerr (her mother's maiden name). She married at 18 and worked in Peterson Productions (one of Canada's first commercial studios). In 1968, Petty was approached by CKEY radio employee Tommy Vradenberg to join the company. Petty had been active in the Toronto Parachute Club as a skydiver and as a result, CKEY thought she would be a good candidate to fly the company's helicopter to report the morning weather and traffic for the city of Toronto. Petty acquired her pilot's license and became known as "The Girl in the Pink Helicopter" as the radio station developed a marketing strategy around Petty in which she dressed in pink, rode a pink helicopter and drove a pink car while on the job. Petty was a traffic reporter for CKEY for several years before giving birth to her first child, at which point she took a job at CITYTV in 1979, where she hosted a phone-in show titled "HELP", later reworked as "Sweet City Woman" which eventually developed into "City Line". She also worked as a reporter for City Pulse news along with Gord Martineau, Colin Vaughan, Peter Silverman, Anne Mroczkowski and Jojo Chintoh.

Dini has received the Jaycees nomination for "Outstanding Canadian." She was one of three finalists in the 1980 ACTRA awards for "best TV Documentary Writer". Her series "Incest: Scandal in the Family", won the silver medal in the nation-wide Can Pro Awards in 1980. In 1981 her documentary "Having A Baby" (which followed her own pregnancy and the birth of her son) won the gold medal at Can Pro, plus the "Award of Excellance", the highest award for the Can Pro festival. She was also nominated for "best TV documentary writer" in the 1981 ACTRA awards.

Petty anchored CITY-TV'scurrent affairs program CityWide from May 1987 to 1989 when she left to work for CFTO-TV, which launched The Dini Petty Show. Directed by Randy Gulliver, The Dini Petty show ran from 1989 to 1999. A reflection of the popular culture at the time, the daily talk show featured interviews with actors, authors, singers and performers. The show received the NATPE (National Association of Television Program Executives) International Iris Award in 1992 for an hour-long interview with Red Skelton, as well as Gemini Awards for best host (awarded in 1992, nominated in 1997 and 1998), a Can-Pro Award in 1997 for a one hour interview with Sara Ferguson, Duchess of York. Petty's contract ended with CTV in 2000 which led to a legal case that resulted in Petty being awarded the broadcast tapes of "The Dini Petty Show".

Dini Petty continued to contribute and develop documentary television as well as contributing to charitable causes such as the Coats for Kids campaign, the Pregnancy Youth Line and the Christian Children's Fund projects related to children, and as a spokesperson for Amnesty International. Petty has also written a best-selling children's book "The Queen, The Bear and The Bumblebee" which has been translated into three languages and developed into a musical by The Children's Group. She continues to speak publicly and in recently toured her one-woman show, A Broad View in Canada.


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2023/03/14 J. Grant. Corrected date of birth. Added VIAF link.




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