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Obits

Helen Thomas Has Died

Helen Thomas, who covered every president from Eisenhower to Obama, has died. Thomas, 92, was born in Kentucky to parents who were immigrants from Lebanon. Her first job in journalism was as a copygirl for the Washington Daily News. She joined United Press in 1943 where she would remain for 57 years. Early in her career, Thomas reported on women’s issues and would later cover federal agencies including the Department of Justice and the FBI. She began covering the White House following the election of John F. Kennedy, in the last days of the Eisenhower administration. She left UPI in 2000 and joined Hearst news service.

Thomas left Hearst, and the White House beat abruptly in 2010 following comments suggesting that Jews should “get the hell out of Palestine.”

Thomas had a front row seat — literally — at the White House, front and center in the briefing room. When she left the White House in 2010, Fox News got her front row seat, thanks in part from some lobbying by then-CNN White House correspondent Ed Henry, who is now with FNC.

In recent years, Thomas wrote for the Falls Church News-Press, contributing a weekly column until January, 2012. In its obituary, the paper says Thomas, “came out of a retirement induced by a cascade of criticism from her journalistic colleagues for off-hand comments she was recorded making that were taken out of context in June 2010.”

Jay Fahy, Attorney and MSNBC Legal Analyst, Found Dead

Jay Fahy, an attorney in private practice who was also an MSNBC legal analyst, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound tonight near his office in Rutherford, New Jersey. From the CliffviewPilot.com:

Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli confirmed Fahy’s death, which he said was “the result of a single gunshot wound to the head, fired with a handgun.” Two men walking under a railroad trestle near the Castle Billiards Lounge found Fahy’s body around 5 o’clock tonight, barely 1,000 feet from his Route 17 office and down the street from his Ridge Road home, Molinelli said.

Fahy, a former prosecutor, specialized in white collar crime. Fahy was a longtime legal analyst for MSNBC. He appeared on the network in June discussing the George Zimmerman trial. He’s also contributed to CNBC and, as recently as three weeks ago, was on the news program “NJ Today.”

Remembering David Aponte

At the end of ABC’s “World News” last night, the show remembered David Aponte, an audio engineer for ABC News. Aponte, 59, died Thursday after an 18-month battle with cancer. Aponte had been part of a leukemia research project at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital, where he died. He was among five patients to undergo promising cell therapy last Summer which genetically altered his immune cells to fight the cancer. Aponte’s case was so rare, in fact, that he was in complete remission after just 8 days. The New York Times reported on the study in March.

But the cancer returned and he lost his fight Thursday. Aponte is survived by his wife, Cindy, his three children and his parents. As his obituary states, “David was a friend to all and will be sadly missed, especially by his extended family at ABC News.”

‘Storm Chasers’ Star Killed In Tornado Hours After Cable News Appearance

The star of the Discovery Channel series “Storm Chasers,” Tim Samaras, was killed in a tornado that ripped through Oklahoma on Friday.

He was killed just hours after he appeared on MSNBC’s “The Cycle” to talk about the severe weather pattern. Samaras’ son Paul and his storm chasing partner Carl Young were also killed in the storm. Denver’s ABC affiliate has more information on what happened.

The trio were killed in the same line of storms that destroyed the Weather Channel’s tornado chasing vehicle, injuring the crew, and caused damage to NBC’s Bloom Mobile broadcast truck.

“Storm Chasers” ran on Discovery Channel for five seasons, finishing its run last year. Samaras remained a regular commentator on cable news when it came to severe weather.

Don Oliver Has Died

Longtime NBC News correspondent Don Oliver has died. Oliver, who spent 25 years at NBC News, got his first job in TV at KXLJ in his native Montanta. He got a scholarship from NBC News to attend Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism before joining NBC’s Cleveland bureau in 1966. He retired from NBC in 1991, but returned for a four-month stint in the early days of MSNBC. Brian Williams reported the news last night:

Former CBS News Correspondent Jan Petersen Dies At 63

Former CBS News foreign correspondent Jan Petersen has died at age 63, after an eight-year battle with Alzheimer’s disease. CBS News has more on her life in an obituary posted to CBSNews.com.

Petersen–then using her maiden name Jan Chorlton–began her career at KIRO in Seattle, and would go on to work for CNN, ABC News and CBS News, where she met her husband, CBS News correspondent Barry Petersen.

Petersen’s struggle with the disease was chronicled by her husband in his book Jan’s Story: Love Lost to the Long Goodbye of Alzheimer’s. You can hear an interview we conducted with Barry Petersen here, and watch the report he filed for “CBS Sunday Morning” after the jump.
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ABC News Journalist Trevor Barker Dies At 59

Photo: David Muir/ABC News

ABC News lost one of its own on Sunday, as veteran audio engineer Trevor Barker passed away at age 59. Barker, based in South Africa, worked with Peter Jennings, Diane Sawyer, David Wright, Terry Moran and David Muir, among many others over his career at ABC.

Barker traveled the world for the network, covering genocide and revolution in Africa, to the election of the new Pope just earlier this year.

“I first met him in Jabul Saraj, Afghanistan, in 2001 when he joined me in the long wait for Kabul to fall,” said Wright, who worked with Barker last March in Rome for the election of Pope Francis, in a statement. “Even then, he was like Crocodile Dundee with a sound kit, a grizzled veteran who with good humor and steady nerves made tough experiences easier on novice war correspondents like me.”

You can see an ABC News video tribute to Barker here.

Pat Summerall Remembered as Player, Broadcaster, Entrepreneur

Tributes continue to come in following the death Tuesday of Pat Summerall, the former NFL football player turned broadcaster who spent 40 years in the booth. Summerall called games on CBS from 1962 to 1994 and on FOX from 1994 to 2002. In 1981, Summerall was paired with former coach John Madden. The team would last for 22 seasons on the two networks.

Summerall, 82, died of a heart attack at a Dallas hospital yesterday. He’d gone in for hip surgery. Some tributes on Twitter:

“He was a terrific broadcaster, a great guy, they didn’t come any better on TV,” Larry King.

“The late Pat Summerall was a great broadcaster who once happened to be a good football player. Early on, was a NYC radio morning host. RIP,” Keith Olbermann.

“Pat was not only good, he was easy to listen to. That’s a rarity in today’s show biz TV sports world,” Len Berman.

“For those of us who make a living in front of a microphone, Pat Summerall was one of the guys who defined the job,” Steve Inskeep, NPR

“RIP Pat Summerall. I will remember you as an entrepreneur first and foremost,” Mark Cuban

BBC Correspondent Who Reported Margaret Thatcher Obituary Recovers from Stroke

It’s no secret that television news networks pre-produce video obituaries for celebrities, politicians and other famous newsmakers. Such is the case in the U.K. today where host and former BBC News political editor Andrew Marr hosted a documentary on former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher who died today.

The special, airing tonight on BBC 1, has been ready to go for some time, as Marr has been off the air since suffering a stroke in January. The 53-year-old was released from the hospital just last month and continues his recovery at home.

Marr began his career in journalism on The Scotsman newspaper in 1981. He joined the BBC as political editor in 2000. Marr has hosted a number of history programs as well as his Sunday broadcast “The Andrew Marr Show.”

Former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher Dies

Former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, known as “The Iron Lady,” has passed away at the age of 87. Her death, in the middle of the network morning shows, immediately became big news.

ABC, CBS and NBC all reported on Thatcher’s death right at 8 AM, with CBS and NBC throwing to pre-taped memorial segments not long thereafter. CBS also secured former Secretary of State Colin Powell, who called in to the program at 8:32. NBC asked Abby Huntsman of The Huffington Post (and the son of Jon Huntsman) about her family’s relationship with Thatcher.

On cable news, Fox News reported Thatcher’s death at 7:53 AM, CNN reported Thatcher’s death at 7:54 AM, and MSNBC at 7:55 AM:
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