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BALSAM, PHILIP, of Toronto, Ontario. It is with the deepest sadness that we announce the loss of our sweet and brilliantly talented Philip, who passed away on March 31, 2023, at his home in Toronto at the age of 79. He was in the company of his wife of 43 years, and a few dear friends, after struggling with Giant Cell Arteritis for two years, and suffering a rapid decline in his health over the last two weeks. Philip came to Canada as a young child with his adoring parents, Harry and Frieda Balsam, and his uncle, David Balsam, after escaping Europe following the end of the second World War. He lived the rest of his life in Toronto, and attended the Ontario College of Art. As an adult, Philip flourished as an artist, musician and composer, achieving international recognition as a renowned songwriter. Among his many accomplishments, he was awarded, along with his co-writers Jim Betts and Dennis Lee, the Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding New Musical for the production of Mordecai Richler’s “Jacob Two Two Meets the Hooded Fang.” He wrote music and songs for many adult and children’s television programs, such as “Groundling Marsh,” “Dog City,” and others, but his most beloved and joyful achievement was in being selected, with his song-writing partner, Dennis Lee, to compose all the songs for the international children’s show, Jim Henson’s “Fraggle Rock.” Record albums produced from those songs resulted in his nomination for a Grammy Award. Philip’s unique approach to songwriting has inspired generations of children and adults, many of whom have acknowledged that their own musical careers were launched after falling in love with the music from “Fraggle Rock.”  He recognized and encouraged talent and artistic expression in whomever he found it. In his personal life, Philip was a gentle, loving and protective nurturer to his wife, and he cared deeply for his friends, nourishing many of his friendships for over sixty years. An avid walker until two years ago, Philip toured every Toronto park, ravine and city street on a daily basis, stopping to chat with strangers and to pat each dog or cat he met along the way. An only child, Philip leaves behind his wife, Carol, and his cousins Jerry of Toronto, and Renee of New York. Fans of “Fraggle Rock” will understand when we say, “Dance Your Cares Away” dear, wonderful Philip.

Memorial donations may be made to the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA) (, or to the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies (