Tragedy has struck History Television Canada and Cream Production’s forthcoming series Head Hunters, with ethnographic antiquities dealer Bill Jamieson (pictured), the show’s star, having died unexpectedly.
The show was set to premiere early next year, with the network having commissioned Cream to produce 14 half-hour episodes following Toronto-based Jamieson.
The series had been in development for more than three years, and the majority of filming is understood to be complete; however, it is uncertain now if and when the project will make it to air.
In a statement given to realscreen, Cream said: “Cream Productions mourns the loss of our friend and colleague, Billy Jamieson. Cream had been in the latter stages of production on a television series for History Television featuring the life and work of Jamieson.
“Discussions are currently underway regarding plans for the series. We do not have any further information at this time.”
A spokesperson for History Television added: “At this point, we don’t know when the show will run. We’re all still mourning the loss of Bill and are examining the best way to honor his memory with the series.”
Jamieson was well-known in the international ethnographic antiquities field for his frequent expeditions to the South Pacific, where he travelled among head-hunters and cannibals, collecting rare artifacts, oddities and curiosities – most notably real human shrunken heads.
He also worked as a consultant for the National Geographic Society on their educational series about headhunting, human sacrifice and cannibalism.
His house in Toronto is a veritable museum of macabre artifacts, and he was known in the city for throwing must-attend Hallowe’en parties, which were frequently the hot ticket in town. In history circles, however, Jamieson was best known for being an extremely talented artifact acquirer.
In 1999 he purchased the Niagara Falls Museum, which had fallen into disrepair but featured nine Egyptian mummies. After selling the artifacts on to a museum in Atlanta, Georgia, it was confirmed that one of the mummies was that of the missing Pharaoh, Ramses I – the priceless artifact was later repatriated back to Egypt.
Jamieson died on July 3, his 57th birthday, at his home in Toronto. He is survived by his fiancée and his son.
UPDATE: The memorial for Billy Jamieson has been moved from the Royal Ontario Museum to the Liberty Grand, 25 British Columbia Drive, Exhibition Place, Toronto. Doors will be open to all at 7:30 p.m on July 26.