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Obits

BBC Anchor Komla Dumor Has Died

komladumorBBC anchor Komla Dumor, a rising star of the World News network, has died from a heart attack.

Dumor, just 41 years old, anchored what would be his final newscast last night. Very active on Twitter and Facebook, Dumor was a presenter on the daily programs “World News” (airing at MidnightET) and “Focus on Africa,” a primetime program for African viewers broadcast worldwide.  Before those shows, he anchored the weekly business magazine “Africa Business Report.”

Dumor, who was born in Ghana, joined the BBC as a radio broadcaster in 2007 after a decade of journalism in Ghana.

Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama wrote on Twitter that his country had “lost one of its finest ambassadors.”

BBC Global News Director Peter Horrocks called Dumor “a leading light of African journalism.” Dumor’s sudden death has itself been news on the BBC today.

Remembering Jessica Savitch, 30 Years After Her Death

SavitchJessicaIn the early 1980s, with cable in its infancy and network anchors dominating the airwaves, one of the most identifiable, and beloved, was NBC’s Jessica Savitch.

A pioneering woman in broadcasting, Savitch was only 30 when, in 1977, fresh from local TV news jobs in Philadelphia and Houston, NBC News hired her to cover Congress.  Savitch went on to be the first woman to anchor a weekend newscast for NBC, and perhaps was best known for her highly-visible primetime ’news capsule’ updates. Her rocky personal life made headlines too.

But it all came to an end on a rainy autumn night in 1983, when the car Savitch was in plunged into a Bucks County, Pennsylvania canal, killing her and the car’s driver, 34-year-old Martin Fischbein, a vice president at the New York Post.

As we approach the thirtieth anniversary of that day – October 23 – TVNewser reached out to friends, family, and colleagues for their memories of Jessica Savitch, who was just 36 when she died.

NBC’s Andrea Mitchell: “Jessica Savitch was a warm-hearted, caring person and a pioneer in broadcasting who lost her life tragically just as she was soaring to new  heights. She was my friend at KYW in Philadelphia and my office mate at NBC in Washington. I was privileged to know her and mourn her loss, along with friends and family, so many years later.”

Former KYW Co-Anchor Mort Crim, who delivered the eulogy at Savitch’s funeral: “Her untimely passing was a loss to me, personally, and to the world of TV journalism. I’ve worked with many talented people, but none who could surpass Jess for a combination of ability, sensitivity and drive…An agent for Will Farrell contacted me a few weeks ago as Anchorman II was nearing completion to remind me that Jess and I had been the inspiration for the first Anchorman movie…Jess was 25 years old when we first shared an anchor desk.  But the years fly by swiftly and she would now be 65, something I can hardly believe. I still miss her.”

NBC’s Tom Brokaw: “It was such a sad, even tragic ending, to a life that was the classic American success story. Jessica had a wide following of admirers, first in Philadelphia and then on the network – and just when she seemed to have found personal happiness, the untimely end.”

After the jump, thoughts from Sue Simmons, Fred Francis, and Linda Ellerbee…plus Lori Savitch on the journalism scholarships that honor her sister thirty years later.

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‘Today’ Superfan Linny Boyette Dies At 71

“Today” superfan Linny Boyette has died of complications from a heart attack at age 71. He was described as “gravely ill” by Al Roker late last week.

A staple on Rockefeller Plaza, Boyette was known not only be the entire “Today” team of anchors, producers and crew, but by fans as well, many of whom came early to stand next to him on the plaza. Boyette received a full obituary from “Today” this morning, looking back on his 20+ year history with the program, and his past in the U.S. military.

WATCH:

Lee Thornton, First African American Woman to Cover the White House for TV, Has Died

LeeThorntonLee Thornton, a former CNN and CBS correspondent, has died.

Thornton, who died Wednesday of pancreatic cancer, was the first African American woman to cover a regular White House beat for one of the big three broadcast networks, at CBS News. Thornton joined CBS in New York in 1974, before moving to Washington where she worked alongside Lesley Stahl and Ed Bradley. She was named White House correspondent in 1977 where she would remain for four years.

In 1982 she moved to NPR where she was the first African American woman to host the weekend edition of “All Things Considered.” She returned to TV joining CNN in 1992.

In 1997, following her years as a journalist, Thornton turned to teaching a new generation of reporters, anchors, producers and writers. She joined the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland where she also produced several programs for the college. Thornton (above, center) was interim dean of the college in 2008-09. Recently, she had been serving as Interim Associate Provost for Equity and Diversity for the university. In 2011 she was named the University of Maryland’s “Outstanding Woman of the Year.”

(Photo: University of Maryland)

Sir David Frost Dies At 74

Sir David Frost, a satirist turned interviewer whose newsmaking interviews with Richard Nixon made international headlines, has died of a heart attack at age 74.

According to the BBC, Frost suffered from the apparent heart attack following a speech on the cruise ship Queen Elizabeth.

Frost, as host of “This Was The Week That Was,” served as something of a predecessor to comedians like Jon Stewart, so far as he was mocking the news. “The Frost Programme” for ITV and “The David Frost Show” for Westinghouse Broadcasting in the U.S. paved the way for more serious interviews. Frost hosted an interview program for Al Jazeera English until his death.

It was Frost’s series of interviews with Richard Nixon in 1977 that made him internationally known for his interview skills. The interviews garnered record ratings in the U.S. and abroad, and had Nixon acknowledging some of the things he did as President that sparked his resignation. The interviews sparked a play and later a film, “Frost/Nixon.”

More from his obituaries in the BBC and Al Jazeera.

Funeral Held For Sky News Camera Operator and ‘true warrior of television news’ Mick Deane

A funeral service for Sky News camera operator Mick Deane was held yesterday at the London Film Museum. Deane was shot and killed in Cairo, Egypt earlier this month, while covering the violence there between the security forces and Muslim Brotherhood protesters.

Sky News has more on the services.

Sky News presenter Jeremy Thompson described Mr Deane as “one of the warmest, kindest, bravest and funniest of all men.

He added: “Mick died as he lived – doing his level best. Doing his best to open the eyes of the world to injustice. Doing his best for his mates. Doing his best to get that story on air, whatever the pressures.

“He was, I think, a true warrior of television news.”

Bruce Dunning, Former CBS News Correspondent, Dies

Bruce Dunning, who retired in 2004 following a 35-year career at CBS News, died this afternoon at a Manhattan hospital from injuries suffered in a fall.

Around CBS, Dunning is best remembered for his award-winning and dramatic report on March 29, 1975 aboard a World Airways jet during the rescue of refugees from the airport in Da Nang, South Vietnam.

The five-and-a-half-minute report, in the final days of the Vietnam war, was broadcast on the “CBS Evening News” Saturday edition anchored by Dan Rather.

Dunning joined CBS News in July 1969 as a reporter/assignment editor in New York after working as a freelance reporter in Paris. He was posted to the Saigon Bureau in August 1970 and moved to the Tokyo bureau in 1972 covering the Asian region. He was one the first American broadcast journalists to report from North Korea.

In 1983, Dunning was named assistant bureau manager for CBS News Miami, covering the Southeast U.S. as well as Latin America. He returned to Asia ahead of the 1988 Olympics in Seoul.

Dunning, who was 73, began his journalism career in 1963 as a reporter and entertainment editor for the St. Petersburg Times. He is survived by his life partner, the artist Tetsunori Kawana. Since retiring from CBS, Dunning had worked as a manager and agent for artists.

Lew Wood, Former CBS News and ‘Today’ Show Anchor, Dies

Lew Wood, a former CBS News and NBC News reporter and anchor, has died. Wood, 84 died of kidney failure Thursday. Wood was a correspondent with CBS News when, in 1963, he covered a speech by Pres. John F. Kennedy in Ft. Worth, TX. A few hours later, Kennedy would be assassinated.

Wood moved on to NBC and, in 1975, replaced Frank Blair, an original member of the show. Wood anchored alsongside Barbara Walters and Jim Hartz as well as Gene Shalit. He would leave after a year and be replaced by Floyd Kalber.

After leaving “Today,” he worked in public relations.

“He was a workhorse, very steady and reliable, excellent reporter and had good on-camera presence,” former colleague Dan Rather told The Associated Press.

Sky News Camera Operator Mick Deane Killed in Egypt

Longtime Sky News camera operator Mick Deane was shot and killed in Cairo, Egypt this morning.

He was there with his team covering the violence in the capital city, as Egyptian security forces cleared public squares of supporters of ousted president Morsi. As noted by former CNN executive Eason Jordan, Deane was a camera operator for CNN based in Rome back in the 1980s.

“Mick was part of a Sky News team reporting on the disturbances in the city with Middle East Correspondent Sam Kiley when he was shot and wounded,” Sky News said in a statement. “Despite receiving medical treatment for his injuries, he died shortly afterwards.”

Sky News has more on Deane, here.

Over a hundred people are said to have been killed in the violence in the last 24 hours, including a few other journalists.

Egypt has become a dangerous place for reporters in recent months. A BBC correspondent was shot in the face by shotgun pellets in July, resulting in emergency surgery.

CNN’s Arwa Damon is also in Cairo covering the protests, and had to duck for cover during a report as automatic gunfire screamed past their location.

WATCH:
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Jane Pauley and Bryant Gumbel Remember John Palmer

On “Today” this morning, former anchors Bryant Gumbel and Jane Pauley stopped by to remember John Palmer, the NBC News anchor and correspondent who passed away over the weekend at age 77.

“John was a gentleman with a capital “G,” he was gracious in every respect,” Gumbel said.

“I would love to have his legacy,” Pauley added.

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