Then Tierney became involved with the film that ultimately defined his career. Bon Cop, Bad Cop, which Tierney both produced and co-wrote, became the highest-grossing Quebec movie of all time and won the Genie Award for best motion picture in 2007.
Although Tierney didn’t learn French until he started teaching in Africa with his wife, Terry Smiley Tierney, in 1974, Bon Cop, Bad Cop featured dialogue in both languages, with subtitles. The action comedy focused on the relationship between Colm Feore’s straight Ontario Provincial Police detective and Patrick Huard’s rule-bending Sûreté du Québec officer.
Soon after the film was released in late 2006, Tierney was profiled for the cover story of the winter 2007 issue of Concordia University Magazine.
In 2009, Tierney produced the coming-of-age movie The Trotsky, directed by his son Jacob Tierney and starring Jay Baruchel. The film garnered the Canadian Film and Television Production Association’s Producer of the Year Award for Tierney at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).
The award came with a $10,000 prize. With those funds, Tierney created the Pat and Bill Tierney Communication Studies Graduate Diploma Scholarship at Concordia.
Sheelah O’Neill, BA 74, was communication studies’ long-time department administrator. “Kevin was one of the first alumni we invited to be part of the communication studies Distinguished Alumni Series [in 2009]. He brought his wife and son along for the occasion, and he was great. The students loved him,” she says.
“He had just won the TIFF award and donated his prize money to set up a scholarship for a communication studies diploma student to be awarded each year. He was a generous man with a wicked sense of humour.”
Charles R. Acland, professor and acting chair of the Department of Communication Studies, also praises Tierney’s dedication and generosity. “Kevin Tierney was an extraordinarily accomplished filmmaker, who operated at the top of the Canadian film business for decades,” he says.
“Kevin was a proud alumnus of the Graduate Diploma in Communication Studies program. We will miss this supremely talented individual.”
Tierney was also active in the local film community. He served as vice-chair of cinema for the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television and was also the only anglophone to serve as head of the Cinémathèque québécoise’s board of directors.
He received a Sheila and Victor Goldbloom Distinguished Community Service Award in 2013. The award celebrates individuals dedicated to ensuring that the English-speaking Quebec community remains vibrant within Quebec and Canada.
Most recently, Tierney worked as a columnist for the Montreal Gazette, where he penned passionate pieces about the anglophone and francophone arts world.
Bill Gilsdorf reunited with his former student several years ago, and he and his wife renewed their friendship with the Tierneys. Gilsdorf reports that after Kevin Tierney was diagnosed with cancer three years ago, he and his wife toured the world as much as they could.
“Right up to the last moment they were travelling, as if being on the road could beat back the cancer,” he says. “I wish it had.”
Tierney is also survived by his daughter Brigid Tierney.