Crawford Hawkins, Canadian Producer and Editor, Dies at 85

Crawford Hawkins - Publicity - P 2019
Courtesy of Directors Guild of Canada, B.C. Local

The Brooklyn-born Hawkins worked in Hollywood before heading north in 1979 and eventually serving as head of the Directors Guild of Canada in Vancouver.

Crawford Hawkins, a director, producer and editor in Los Angeles before heading to Canada in 1979 and eventually becoming head of the Directors Guild of Canada on the West Coast, has died. He was 85.

Hawkins died June 25 due to unspecified causes, the DGC confirmed. "What Crawford gave our community is stunning in its breadth as in its depth and matched by the memories of the countless individuals and lives he touched along the way. He will be remembered and he will be missed," Tim Southam, national president of the Directors Guild of Canada, said in a statement.

Born in Brooklyn on Sept. 21, 1933, Hawkins enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps at age 18 years and fought during the Korean War. He entered the entertainment industry in 1957 after getting a job in the mailroom at CBS for $22.50 a week.

That led to a gig as an assistant film editor in a film production company, which paid him $65 a week. From there, Hawkins went on to become a veteran film editor, director, postproduction supervisor and TV production executive.

He worked early on with Hollywood players like 20th Century Fox, The Jim Henson Company, Mandalay Television and Hallmark Entertainment. While based in Los Angeles, Hawkins in 1979 executive produced a Western, Up River, which was shot in British Columbia.

While on that shoot, Hawkins met his future wife, Lid Hawkins, a veteran costume designer. That union led Hawkins to move to Vancouver and begin a four-decade association with the British Columbia film and TV industry, which included a stint as executive director of the DGC on the West Coast from 2002-2016.

On the creative front, Hawkins produced 25 episodes of The X-Files, which was shot in Vancouver, and Eli Craig's 2010 horror pic Tucker and Dale vs. Evil and the 2005 action-thriller Caught in the Headlights. In 1997, Hawkins won an Emmy for his work on The X-Files.

He also served as the production manager or postproduction supervisor on another 30 projects, including Christopher Nolan's 2002 thriller Insomnia, which starred Al Pacino, Robin Williams and Hilary Swank and was shot in northern British Columbia doubling as Alaska.

Hawkins also directed one episode of the Neon Rider TV series in 1994. Away from the production front, he played a key leadership role in the British Columbia film and TV industry.

Hawkins chaired the British Columbia Motion Picture Association from 1996-1997 and served as a board member of the Motion Picture Production Industry Association. Today, Vancouver is bursting with Hollywood production, in part because of the earlier efforts of Hawkins and other industry builders to lure Los Angeles producers north to shoot their projects.

In 2009, Hawkins told Playback magazine that British Columbia had the advantage of familiarity for Hollywood producers, even if he couldn't control fluctuations in the Canadian dollar, compared to the value of the American greenback, and competition from rival American states.

"I have been around a long time and have a lot of experience, familiarity and friendships with the people we deal with on an ongoing basis. In this business, people buy from their friends. Everything is too time-sensitive to take chances on new suppliers," Hawkins, then-head of the DGC B.C. District Council, said.

He also lent his name and time to the Vancouver International Film Festival, the then-Banff Television Festival, the British Columbia Film Society, the B.C. Film Center, the B.C. Film Commission and the Film and New Media Competition Council B.C.

"Crawford Hawkins’ contribution to the Directors Guild is immeasurable. He leaves a massive hole in B.C.’s film and television family, and we expect to honor his memory by living up to the example he set for multiple generations of our industry," DGC B.C. chair Allan Harmon said in his own statement.