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Former WABC Anchor Beutel Dies at 75

Mar 20, 2006  •  Post A Comment

Legendary WABC-TV anchor Bill Beutel, who was the longest-serving local news anchor in New York TV history and who helped change local news as a member of WABC-TV’s pioneering “Eyewitness News” team, died Saturday.

Mr. Beutel had suffered from a progressive neurological disease, his wife, Adair, told The New York Times. He was 75.

He first appeared on-air for WABC in 1962 on “The Big News.” He frequently contributed to ABC News and co-anchored “AM America,” the short-lived forerunner to “Good Morning America,” in 1975.

Mr. Beutel was the network’s London bureau chief for two years before returning in 1970 to try his luck where numerous others had failed: as the co-anchor who could hold his own next to the sardonic Roger Grimsby on “Eyewitness News.”

Mr. Beutel stepped down from the ABC flagship station’s anchor desk in 2001 but continued to report for WABC until he retired in 2003.

WABC General Manager Dave Davis said in statement, “He also proved you could be a tough newsman and a gentleman at the same time. He stood for fairness, accuracy, kindness, strength, and decency. He was never shrill, always measured, and universally respected — the original class act.”

Private funeral services are planned, with a memorial service to be scheduled in New York.