Stan Chambers, Los Angeles TV journalism institution, dies at 91

Fri Feb 13, 2015 4:55pm EST
 
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By Dan Whitcomb

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Stan Chambers, who joined KTLA-TV news in Los Angeles in the late 1940s, at the dawn of the television age, and spent six decades as a local TV journalism institution, died on Friday at the age of 91, the station said.

Chambers, who retired from KTLA in 2010 after 63 years as a broadcast journalist in America's second-largest city, passed away at his home in the Holmby Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles, surrounded by family members, according to the station.

"Stan Chambers was a newsman in the truest sense. His dedication to producing the best story possible led to innovations that define the newscasts we watch today," Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said.

"Stan was a gentleman, a gifted storyteller, and one of those rare L.A. icons whose impact was felt by generations of Angelenos. He will be truly missed," Garcetti said.

Chambers, then 24, was a U.S. Navy veteran attending the University of Southern California on the G.I. bill and working on the campus magazine when he took a job behind the scenes at KTLA in December of 1947.

"I heard a program one night saying that one of the local television stations had expanded its broadcasting schedule," Chambers said in 2010, according to KTLA. "I didn’t even know that television was on the air."

Chambers soon began appearing on camera and in April of 1949 took part in a seminal moment for TV journalism: the 27-hour live coverage of frantic efforts to rescue Kathy Fiscus, a 3-year-old girl who had fallen into an abandoned well. She was ultimately found dead.

That broadcast, at a time when few American households even had a television set, is considered one of the first live broadcasts of a breaking news story.   Continued...