I Thought He Was Dead

I Thought He Was Dead

Ralph Benmergui
  • $20.00

September 28, 2021
290 pages | ISBN 978-1-989496-33-6

In this wise and funny memoir Ralph Benmergui, one of Canada’s beloved storytellers, shares his path from resident class clown and the son of Moroccan immigrants to gracing TV screens across Canada and into his third, unexpected, act in Hashpa’ah: Jewish Spiritual Direction. I Thought He Was Dead: A Spiritual Memoir is the perfect book for those looking to reinvent themselves at any time of life and Ralph Benmergui is the best possible guide for the journey.

Advance Praise

“A compelling mixture of memoir, reflection and philosophy, this is a startlingly honest and important book.” – Rev. Michael Coren, columnist and bestselling author

“Ralph Benmergui’s book is a gift to all of us who, like him, are in the ‘autumn of our lives’ and to anyone who is planning to someday get there. He writes with the timing of a performer, the compassion of a loving friend and the wisdom of a different kind of rabbi. Ralph asks how we can bring our wisdom to the table – this book is, in part, his personal answer to that question.” – Kathleen Wynne, former premier of Ontario

“Ralph Benmergui was one of the most talented people I’d ever seen walk into the Toronto studios of the CBC. And he knew it. It wasn’t long before he wanted both he and his show to ‘own’ the town. This is the story of how he almost did, what happened when he didn’t and what’s happened to his remarkable life since. It’s not a simple story and along the way, there are lessons for all of us.” – Peter Mansbridge

“Ralph Benmergui’s I Thought He Was Dead is a deeply moving work. Its raw vulnerability and masterful storytelling combine to make the book a celebration of life, faith, hope and love.” – Joan Jenkinson, executive director, Black Screen Office

“From stand-up to TV host to cancer patient and ultimately spiritual companion, through every star-making, humiliating stop along the way, Ralph Benmergui’s memoir is a raw, entertaining and enlightening read that is deeply funny, touching and inspirational.” – Erin Davis, broadcaster and bestselling author of Mourning Has Broken: Love, Loss and Reclaiming Joy


One fateful morning changed Ralph Benmergui's outlook on comedy, family and mortality (CBC Radio, 21/01/2022)
"My face doesn't look the same as it used to, and that was a whole Zen meditation right there – of accepting the impermanence of everything in your life, including how you look.
E264 with RALPH BENMERGUI (Jamie Tennant, Get Lit, 08/12/2021)
Jamie Tennant interviews Ralph about his memoir.
Read the Hammer, Fall 2021 (Hamilton Review of Books, 30/11/2021)
A short interview with Ralph about his memoir, his favourite local bookstore, and how Hamilton influences his writing.
Ralph Benmergui publishes new memoir (Gill Deacon, Here and Now Toronto, 22/11/2021)
Gill Deacon speaks with Ralph about his memoir.
Ralph Benmergui: Spiritual Growth Through Challenging Times (Steven Paikin, The Agenda with Steve Paikin, 29/10/2021)

Ralph talks to Steve Paikin about his new book.

Ralph Benmergui on his book “I Thought He Was Dead: A Spiritual Memoir” (Breakfast Television, 13/10/2021)
Ralph Benmergui joins Breakfast Television to talk about the lessons he's learned from his life endeavours and how it inspired his book's message.

Word on the Street Guest Authors Ralph Benmergui, Emily Brewes, & Hollay Ghadery on Ontario as Inspiration, Virtual Events & More (Open Book, 13/09/2021)
Ralph talks to Open Book about his forthcoming memoir I Thought He Was Dead.


Read Hamilton (Open Book, 27/11/2023)
A wonderful gathering of Hamilton books in one place, including Ralph's memoir.

Rad Reads – Hamilton Style! (Jessica Rose, Hamilton City Magazine, 22/04/2022)
Ralph's book makes this round-up of rad Hamilton reads.

Benmergui tackles the big questions in memoir (Graham Rockingham, The Hamilton Spectator, 20/10/2021)
A wonderful write-up about Ralph's memoir.

How Ralph Benmergui became not that kind of rabbi (Ralph Benmergui, The Canadian Jewish News, 25/09/2021)
Ralph shares an excerpt from his memoir, I Thought He Was Dead.


Read an excerpt from I Thought He Was Dead.

About the Author

Ralph Benmergui is best known as a TV and radio personality. First at the CBC for over twenty years and then at Jazz FM with his morning show Benmergui in the Morning. Born in Tangiers, Morocco, Ralph and his family arrived in Canada in the late fifties settling in Toronto. Ralph has had an eclectic career. Stand-up comic, singer in a band, national media, then government communications. Executive Advisor to the President at Sheridan College and along the way seeking out and becoming becoming an ordained Spiritual Director.

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