L.A. Anchor Larry McCormick Dead at Age 71

Aug 27, 2004  •  Post A Comment

Larry McCormick, one of the first African American television news anchors in Los Angeles, has passed away at age 71, according to an announcement by KTLA-TV in Los Angeles, where he worked for the past 24 years. The cause of death was not released.

Mr. McCormick was most recently co-anchor of KTLA’s “News @ Ten: Weekend Edition,” where he also did health and fitness reports on the newscasts. He was also co-host of KTLA’s public affairs series “Making It: Minority Success Stories.”

“This is a tremendous loss for everyone at KTLA,” said Vincent Malcolm, KTLA VP and general manager. “Larry was truly admired and respected by everyone at the station. Many employees looked upon him as a role model who always shared his knowledge, wisdom and time. Larry believed in giving back to the community, especially Los Angeles’ African American community. His leadership had considerable significance in the shaping of that community.”

Born in Kansas City, Mo., in 1933, Mr. McCormick began his broadcasting career in 1957 when he landed a job in radio at KPRS in Kansas City. In 1958 he moved to Los Angeles, where he became a popular radio personality, news reporter, community affairs director and talk show host on stations such as KGFJ, KDAY, KFWB, KLAC and KMPC.

In 1969 Mr. McCormick made the transition to television when he joined KCOP-TV as a news anchor and game show host, becoming one of the first African American television anchormen. The following year he became weatherman at KABC-TV.

Mr. McCormick joined KTLA in 1971, and worked at times as anchor, weatherman, sportscaster and public affairs program host. In June 2001 KTLA named one of its stages the Larry McCormick Stage as a tribute to his contributions to the station and the community. In October 2002, he was honored with a star on the world-famous Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Mr. McCormick was nominated for a number of Emmys during his career. He won in 2003 for his work on “Making It: Minority Success Stories.” In 1994 he received the prestigious Governor’s Award, the highest honor presented annually by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. He also received a number of Golden Mike Awards presented by the Radio & Television News Association of Southern California.

Over the years Mr. McCormick made numerous appearances on TV and film, usually portraying a television newscaster. His credits include “Throw Momma From the Train,” “Naked Gun 2%BD;,” “The Jeffersons,” “The Love Boat,” “The Rockford Files” and “Beverly Hills, 90210.”

His work outside the station was also prolific. He organized and/or emceed more than 2,100 programs in the greater Los Angeles community. He was on numerous boards including the Los Angeles Urban League, the Challenger’s Boys and Girls Club and the Performing Tree (theater for kids). He also worked with the Angel City Links Achiever’s Program, the Lullaby Guild of Los Angeles and the 8-Ball Welfare Foundation, among others.

During his career, Mr. McCormick was president of the Radio & Television News Association of Southern California and a board member of the Greater Los Angeles Press Club. His affiliations also included the Black Journalists Association of Southern California, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, 100 Black Men of Los Angeles and the United Way of Los Angeles.

He was also the perennial host for the United Negro College Fund and MDA telethons. He was “quiz master” for 12 years for the Los Angeles Unified School District’s annual Academic Decathlon and two years for the National Academic Decathlon. For more than 20 years he served as the permanent master of ceremonies for the Los Angeles Urban League’s annual Whitney M. Young Jr. Awards Dinner.

Mr. McCormick is survived by his wife, Anita, daughter Kitty, sons Alvin and Mitch and grandsons Daniel and Benjamin.