LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - “America’s Most Wanted” host John Walsh, whose TV crime show has helped police capture 1,500 fugitives and find 50 missing children since 1988, is being given an honorary award from organizers of the Emmys.
The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences on Tuesday said it will give its Governors Award to Walsh for making an impact on society through the use of TV.
“John Walsh has dedicated his life to the betterment of society, and while doing so has used television in an inventive and extraordinary way,” academy chief executive John Shaffner said in a statement. “His contribution to society goes far beyond just hosting a hit TV show, but sets a prime example of how television can be used to convey an important message.”
Walsh became known around the world as a crime fighter and victims’ advocate after his 6 year-old son Adam was abducted from a mall near his home in Hollywood, Fla., on July 27, 1981 and found murdered two weeks later.
The case remained unsolved for 27 years until 2008 when police linked the slaying to a serial killer who died in prison and who claimed responsibility for hundreds of murders.
Walsh’s personal tragedy is credited with sparking the creation of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children in 1984 after President Ronald Reagan signed the “Missing Children’s Assistance Act.”
His work on America’s Most Wanted, which tells viewers of crimes and alleged perpetrators who are still at large, helped spark child protection laws, including “The Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act” that tracks convicted sex offenders who disappear after they’re released from prison.
He is one of three Honorary U.S. Marshals and was named “Man of the Year” by both the U.S. Marshals Service and the FBI. Walsh will receive the Governors Award during the Creative Emmy awards in Los Angeles on September 10.
Reporting by Jason Kandel, Editing by Bob Tourtellotte